Victory Tischler-Blue’s powerful documentary “Edgeplay” has been a long time in the making, but this was never the way she intended things to be. The filmmaker had set out to simply chronicle the experiences of the girls who made up the 1970s teen hard rock group The Runaways. At age 17, Tischler-Blue (under the name Vicki Blue) replaced original Runaways bassist Jackie Fox after the latter had left the band after a Japanese tour in 1977. (The band included future rock luminaries Joan Jett and Lita Ford and the quintet’s influence still reverberates in such current bands as The Donnas and the gender-bending Toilet Boys.) For her part, Tischler-Blue stuck around until shortly before the band finally imploded in 1979.

The California native effectively left her musical aspirations behind at that point, and went on to a successful career in TV and film production. However, in the late ’90s she got an idea to put together a film of Runaways live performances for her bandmates, which grew into the documentary “Edgeplay.” Tischler-Blue interviewed all of her former musical comrades except Joan Jett, who–according to the filmmaker–ignored her requests to participate in the film for several years. When Jett and her manager Kenny Laguna finally viewed the film, Tischler-Blue says Jett thought she deserved more screentime and effectively began trying to derail the project.

In the meantime, Tischler-Blue contends that The Runaways’ eccentric former manager and longtime Hollywood scenester Kim Fowley proved to be both a help and hindrance to the production at various times. And recently, Runaways vocalist Cherie Currie, after being interviewed extensively for the movie, has criticized the project.

All of the behind-the-scenes wrangling might not mean much if the film itself were not so riveting. Tischler-Blue has pulled-together a harrowing tale of ’70s rock’n’roll excess and shattered dreams that rivals any rock documentary ever made. Just the footage of drummer Sandy West’s mother discussing her daughter’s oftentimes sad post-Runaways existence is gut-wrenchingly real. But when you add in all of the other members’ experiences as teenage girls who were thrown into a cut-throat business and degraded on a regular basis by sleazy, cheapjack management types, the showbiz veneer is replaced by a kind of brutal honesty that doesn’t make it to the silver screen much these days. “Edgeplay” dodges the usual pre-sweetened rock’n’roll clichés, and goes straight for the jugular.


Posted on April 28, 2005 in Interviews by


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