For all the technical blunders, My Hustler possesses some narrative fascination for those with sufficiently strong stomachs and/or psyches. A young boy, hired for the weekend by a wealthy Fire Island homo through the ‘Dial-a-Hustler Service,’ is fought over by the aging deviate, a girl from next door, and another hustler well past his prime.
What makes the film morbidly absorbing is not the tenuous storyline # which, in the best NY Underground tradition, is never resolved # but the detail with which gay life is documented. [Shorter version premiered in 1966.]
The camera remains stationary for long stretches (one static take lasts a full 30 minutes), and what motion Warhol does employ consists of headache-inducing zooms and wobbly pans. The sound reproduction is so poor as not to deserve the epithet ‘amateur’; volume level suggests an aural rollercoaster, about a third of the dialog is muffled, and lip sync is off for most of the film.