Velvet gold mine

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German title Velvet gold mine
Original title Velvet gold mine
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1998
length 124 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Todd Haynes
script Todd Haynes,
James Lyons
production Christine Vachon
music Carter Burwell ,
Ron Asheton
camera Maryse Alberti
cut James Lyons

Velvet Goldmine is a 1998 film with fairy tale and musical clips, directed and screenplayed by Todd Haynes .


The narrator and main character in the film is a British journalist (played by Christian Bale ) who goes back to his own past after researching an article about the 1970s glam rock singer Brian Slade.

In sometimes confusing flashbacks, the film builds the story of the fictional rock star Brian Slade from memories of the journalist and the stories of his interview partners. Even before the actual plot begins, a parallel is drawn to Oscar Wilde , which runs through the entire film in the form of a piece of jewelry that is attributed to Wilde. The protagonists are characterized as a kind of "reincarnation" of Wildes, in that they gradually find Wildes' brooch and steal or pass it on to one another. The green shimmering piece of jewelry also serves as a symbol for the glamor and aesthetics of the glam rock culture.

Filming location Chiswick House

In the late 1960s, Brian Slade began performing as a singer in small clubs. An agent recognizes his talent and arranges his first appearances. At one of these concerts, Slade sees a performance by an American singer named Curt Wild and is full of enthusiasm because he sees him as a brother in spirit. Curt Wild is an only slightly modified image of Iggy Pop , who is portrayed very authentically by Ewan McGregor.

After some initial successes, Slade changes manager. For the first time, his character is portrayed as cool and ruthless. His first manager said in an interview that Slade never spoke to him again after the move. The new manager Jerry Devine turns Slade into an international pop star and puts him in contact with Curt Wild. Wild is currently out of a contract and Slade offers to record a record with him in England. A homoerotic love affair develops between the two singers, which mainly comes from Slade.

In this phase, the film portrays the climax of glam rock as an excessive party full of bizarre types and bizarre situations. Large parts of the film look like music videos. Many situations are presented as surrealistic dream sequences. With the climax comes Slade's decline, initiated with the fictional murder he himself staged. Even before that, the collaboration with Wild had stopped working and various erotic, artistic and human problems had shattered the relationships between the protagonists. With the assassination, Slade's fans also turn away from him. In the last part of this phase, the film shows Slade as a callous loner shattered by cocaine and alcohol.

The journalist also has vivid memories of this time, which, however, he had repressed for career reasons. He is the typical fan of the rock stars shown in the film. A young man with bisexual inclinations, who sees his physicality suppressed by the traditional morals of his family and surroundings. Slade and the other glam rock artists offer him a liberating experience by publicly expressing his feelings artistically. Towards the end of the film, he remembers meeting Wild at a concert after which he had a homoerotic experience with Wild. In contrast to some of the other orgy scenes in the film, their night of love is portrayed as liberating and full of human affection and playfulness. In the end, the journalist finds out on incomprehensible ways that Brian Slade has changed his identity. He is now, 1984, the pop singer Tommy Stone, in whom an exaggerated version of David Bowie of that time can be clearly recognized. Not only does the film label him in a silly white suit and bizarre Bob Geldof hairstyle, it also portrays him as a political reactionary who praises an American president portrayed as a fascist.

The film depicts the 1980s as a gloomy, joyless world. Social depression and cultural decay are depicted with muted, brown-gray colors, bad weather, crude concrete architecture and narrow interiors. Mistrust and resignation are reflected in people's faces. The fans of Tommy Stone are dull yes-sayers, who with bizarre plastic masks of their idol document their loss of individuality abundantly. In the last scenes of the film, the plot gets a not entirely plausible positive ending. The journalist meets Curt Wild and can get him to give a short interview. Probably motivated by an implied recognition of the former " groupie ", Wild gives the journalist the green brooch.


“A mainly nostalgic look back at the brief Glam Rock era with its provocative commitment to bisexuality, the soundtrack of which is more convincing than its visual preparation and for which the juxtaposition between the liberal past and the repressive present degenerates into lip service. As a 'faked' contemporary document nevertheless of some charm. "

“Velvet Goldmine is a classic rise-and-fall story and not a musician biography. The parallels to and playing around with real greats (David Bowie / Ziggy Stardust, Iggy Popp), the 'stylish' reproduced record covers, lettering or the speaking names (Jack Fairy, Jerry Divine, etc.) are an added value of the film, but not the main thing . Above all, Velvet Goldmine is a musical film that dissolves its narrative into flowing filmed movements or songs "

- Der Standard , December 2, 1998, quoted from: Cinematograph Volume 18, No. 236, January 1999


The film was shown in competition at the 1998 Cannes International Film Festival and Todd Haynes was awarded a prize for a particularly valuable artistic contribution. In 1999, costume designer Sandy Powell was nominated for an Oscar in the category of best costume design . In the same year she won the British Academy Film Award .


Jonathan Rhys Meyers ( Kick it like Beckham ) plays the role of the bisexual glam rock icon Brian Slade, whose name is reminiscent of the band Slade , but which was obviously modeled on David Bowie . Brian's fellow musician and lover Curt Wild, comparable to Iggy Pop and Lou Reed , is played by Ewan McGregor . Toni Collette can be seen in the role of Slade's wife .

The story has strong parallels with David Bowie's and Iggy Pop's relationship in the 1970s and 1980s. Slade's fictional stage personality Maxwell Demon and his band Venus in Furs show a deliberate resemblance to Bowie's stage character Ziggy Stardust and his band Spiders from Mars. In the story, David Bowie's paranoid fear of being killed during a concert is transformed into the staged stage death Slade was about to end his career.

The title of the film refers to the song of the same name by David Bowie Velvet Goldmine , which was first included on the B-side of the British re-release of the piece Space Oddity from 1975. At the same time, the film title is also a homage to Lou Reed's band The Velvet Underground . A song by Reed's band from 1967 is also called Venus in Furs . Maxwell Demon was also the name of the first band created by Brian Eno , who worked with David Bowie in the late 1970s.

One of the executive producers of the film was rock singer Michael Stipe from REM


The film's soundtrack contains songs written for the film (including Pulp , Grant Lee Buffalo ) and compositions from the glam rock era, both in the original (including T. Rex , Lou Reed ) and as cover versions (including Placebo , Teenage Fanclub ). Contributions from the film bands The Venus In Furs (with Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead ) and Wylde Ratttz (with Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth and Ron Asheton from The Stooges ) are also featured. The band Placebo also has several guest appearances in the film.

Bowie himself denied the rights to his songs because he planned a similar project for 2002. The basic feeling of the film reminded him more of the early 80s than the early 70s, he said of the finished product.

Track list

The following music tracks can be heard in the film; The original soundtrack CD only contains the 19 tracks on a blue background, in a different order:

title composer Interpreter
Needle in the Camel's Eye Brian Eno / Phil Manzanera Brian Eno
Hot one Nathan Larson / Shudder to Think Shudder to Think
People rockin 'people Nathan Larson Nathan Larson
Avenging Annie Andy Pratt Andy Pratt
Coz I Luv You Noddy Holder / Jim Lea Slade
The Fat Lady of Limbourg Brian Eno Brian Eno
A Little of What You Fancy Does You Good! Fred W. Leigh / George Arthurs Lindsay Kemp
Tutti Frutti Little Richard (as Richard Penniman) / Dorothy La Bostrie The Venus in Furs, vocal by Callum Hamilton
Do You Wanna Touch Me? (Oh, Yeah!) Gary Glitter / Mike Leander Gary Glitter
Band of Gold Ronald Dunbar / Edythe Wayne Freda Payne
2HB Bryan Ferry The Venus in Furs, vocal by Thom Yorke
Sebastian Steve Harley Cockney Rebel
TV Eye David Alexander, Scott Asheton, Ron Asheton (as Ronald Asheton), Iggy Pop (as James Osterberg Jr.) The Wylde Ratttz, vocal by Ewan McGregor
The Ballad of Maxwell Demon Craig Wedren / Shudder to Think Shudder to Think, vocal by Jonathan Rhys Meyers
The Whole Shebang Grant-Lee Phillips Grant Lee Buffalo
Symphony No. 6 in A Minor Gustav Mahler The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Get in the groove James Timothy Shaw The Mighty Hannibal
Ladytron Bryan Ferry Venus in Furs, vocal by Thom Yorke
We are the boyz Jarvis Cocker , Nick Banks, Candida Doyle , Steve Mackey, Mark Webber / Jarvis Cocker (as J. Cocker) Pulp
Cosmic dancer Marc Bolan T. rex
Virginia Plain Bryan Ferry Roxy Music
Personality crisis David Johansen / Johnny Thunders Teenage Fan Club and Donna Matthews
Satellite of Love Lou Reed Lou Reed
Diamond Meadows Marc Bolan T. rex
Bitter's end Bryan Ferry Paul Kimble
Baby's on Fire Brian Eno The Venus in Furs, vocal by Jonathan Rhys Meyers
My Unclean Ron Asheton / Mark Arm The Wylde Ratttz, vocal by Ewan McGregor
Bitter sweet Andy Mackay (as Andrew Mackay) / Bryan Ferry The Venus in Furs, vocal by Thom Yorke
20th Century Boy Marc Bolan placebo
Dead Finks Don't Talk Brian Eno Brian Eno
Gimme Danger Iggy Pop / James Williamson The Venus in Furs, vocal by Ewan McGregor
Velvet Spacetime Carter Burwell Carter Burwell
Tumbling Down Steve Harley The Venus in Furs, vocal by Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) Steve Harley Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel


Courtney Love stated that the character of Curt Wild was too much like her late husband Kurt Cobain, both in character and physically, to contribute to the film's soundtrack itself.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Velvet Gold Mine. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed June 6, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. Making-of of Velvet Goldmine (including interviews with director Todd Haynes, the main cast, producers Michael Stipe and Christine Vachon, make-up designer Peter King and costume designer Sandy Powell ), 25 minutes, included in the bonus material of the DVD Velvet Goldmine , 2002 (Universum Film GmbH & Co. KG, Munich / Making-of produced by S&L Medienproduktion GmbH, Munich)
  3. Velvet Goldmine (1998) Trivia. imdb, accessed July 28, 2019 .