Shot in New York City in the summer of ’84, Desperately Seeking Susan was released in the U.S. in April of ’85. Originally intended to be rated R, the film was edited to get a PG-13 rating in order to market it to Madonna’s burgeoning teenage fan base. The New Yorker‘s film critic, Pauline Kael, praised Madonna’s performance as;
“an indolent, trampy goddess.”
(…which pretty much nails her personae for the last 30 years. Not.) and the New York Times film critic Vincent Canby named it of the 10 best films of the year. Rosanna Arquette won a BAFTA Award for her portrayal of Roberta and she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. Madonna got many good notices for her portrayal of Susan but believe it or not, they originally wanted Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn to play the roles of Roberta and Susan (can you imagine?!) but director Siedelman decided to cast newcomers. The studio wanted young actors in order to appeal to a younger market. Bruce Willis was up for the role of “Dez” and Melanie Griffith was up for Susan. Madonna barely beat out Ellen Barkin and Jennifer Jason Leigh for her part. Suzanne Vega also auditioned for Susan.
The soundtrack featured the original score for the film and was released on both vinyl and CD but it did NOT, however, feature any Madonna songs. She did record a song entitled, Desperately Seeking Susan, but it ended up not being used in the film, but a demo she just finished at the time for Into the Groove was used instead. (The scene featuring Groove, shot at the famed Danceteria, is below. The demo version of it can only be heard in the movie.) Into the Groove was a huge success, but was not included on the soundtrack because of licensing restrictions enforced by Madonna’s record label. (None of her songs were allowed to be mixed with other artists.)
I just watched it again for the first time in forever and I have to say, it holds up. My pal Ann Magnuson still stands out in her cameo role as the cigarette girl in the magic club…
“My God, we all thought you were dead!”
“No… just in New Jersey.”
The rest of the cast is top-notch as well and the script is really solid. Watch the theatrical trailer below and get into the 80s groove!
(via On the Set of New York)