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Ciao! Manhattan

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Director  John Palmer
Initial DVD release  November 12, 2002
Language  English
6/10 IMDb

Genre  Biography, Drama, Romance
Screenplay  John Palmer
Country  United States
Ciao! Manhattan movie poster
Release date  February 1972 (1972-02)
Writer  John Palmer (screenplay), David Weisman (screenplay), Genevieve Charbon (original concept), John Palmer (additional story), Chuck Wein (original concept), David Weisman (additional story), Robert Benard (additional story)
Cast  Edie Sedgwick (Susan Superstar), Wesley Hayes (Butch), Isabel Jewell (Mummy), Jeff Briggs (Geoffrey), Paul America (Paul), Tom Flye (Tom)
Similar movies  Nymphomaniac: Vol. I, Nymphomaniac: Vol. II, Gone Baby Gone, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Good Will Hunting, Middle Men

Drugs and alcohol fuel the final days of Edie Sedgwick, an Andy Warhol protege who died of an overdose in 1971.


Ciao! Manhattan is a 1972 American avant garde film starring Edie Sedgwick, one of Andy Warhols Superstars. A scripted drama in which most of the actors play themselves, it centers on a character very closely based on Sedgwick, and deals with the pain of addiction and the lure of fame.

The very sad tale of Socialite & Warhol Muse Edie Sedgwick (1943-1971) who effectively plays herself in this odd Film, it follows her life in a large part from the time she left Warhol's 'Factory' and what the life of excess drugs did to her sanity, Edie was such a beautiful Fragile girl - who finally got her head together and got married (her wedding day video is edited into the end of the movie) but it was too late, her husband woke up on a Morning in November 1971 and found her dead beside him, she had died in her sleep from overdosing on her medication she was 28.


Written and directed by John Palmer and David Weisman, Ciao! Manhattan is the semi-biographical tale of 1960s counterculture icon Edie Sedgwick. The film follows young Susan Superstar (Sedgwick) through her tumultuous party years in Manhattan as one of Warhols Superstars. Through actual audio recordings of Sedgwicks account of her time in Warhols Factory in New York City, paired with clips from the original unfinished script started in 1967, Ciao! captures the complete deterioration of Sedgwicks fictional alter-ego. The striking similarities between Sedgwick and Susans life story, especially when recounted by Sedgwick in the midst of drug-induced audio interviews, make the films candid depiction of excess and celebrity especially haunting. The film is dedicated to the memory of Sedgwick and ends with the actual headlines announcing Sedgwicks (not Susan Superstars) death, thus inseparably associating the fictional and the genuine figure.


Production of Ciao! Manhattan began on March 26, 1967, as a project of Factory regulars John Palmer, David Weisman, Genevieve Charbin, Chuck Wein, Bob Margouleff, Gino Piserchio, with supplemental roles and tasks fulfilled by various other hangers-on. The film originally followed the excessively hip lives of Midtown scenesters Sedgwick and fellow Warhol Superstar Paul America, as they lived life in the fast lane (literally speeding down the West Side Highway on massive amounts of amphetamine).

The project was riddled with budget problems, an unfinished, nonsensical script of debauchery, drug use and paranoia. Unreliable actors and rampant drug abuse behind the camera pushed shooting out of control as both Sedgwick and America went missing, putting production on hold. With barely any direction and no end in sight, the films backers, Bob Margouleffs parents, lost faith in their sons project, and Palmer and Weisman were left with the fragments of an unpresentable film. To salvage these fragments, Palmer and Weisman decided to reshape the script to include the previously shot footage as flashback sequences to tell Sedgwicks tragic story through the persona of Susan Superstar.

In December 1970, they resumed filming on the dilapidated "Lucky" Baldwin estate in Arcadia, California. For a month they shot Susan recounting her past through the dazed euphoria of perpetual substance abuse. The shooting lasted only a month and in 1971, Ciao! finally went into post-production. However, the excitement of the films near completion was short-lived due to Sedgwicks death from acute barbiturate intoxication.

Ciao! Manhattan was finally completed on May 25, 1972 and had its premiere in Amsterdam in July 1972 to critical acclaim, due in part to Sedgwicks onscreen presence and representation of a culture that she helped to define. The successful screenings continued in London, Germany, France, San Diego, Denver, and Tempe, Arizona, but then the film essentially disappeared for nearly a decade until interest in Edie Sedgwick was sparked again by the best-selling book Edie: An American Biography by George Plimpton and Jean Stein in 1982.

Similar Movies

Factory Girl (2006). Chelsea Girls (1966). Zorns Lemma. Edie Sedgwick appears in Ciao! Manhattan and Poor Little Rich Girl. Edie Sedgwick appears in Ciao! Manhattan and Beauty No 2.

30th Anniversary DVD release

In the years since its original release, Ciao! Manhattan has become a cult classic, due in large part to the film being Edie Sedgwicks last starring vehicle. On July 19, 2002, exactly thirty years after its world premiere in Amsterdam, Ciao! opened at New Yorks Cinema Village. In October 2002, Plexifilm released a special edition DVD with additional 35mm outtake footage, rare pictures and interviews with the cast and crew of the film.


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