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Hollywood Playgirls & Shadytown

The Film

from the JX Williams Archive

Hollywood Play-Girls (1966)
Directed by J.X. Williams with an original soundtrack by Spindrift.

Fresh from the success of Peep Show (1965) – a conspiracy thriller about the JFK assassination that received critical acclaim in Europe, J.X. Williams redirected his focus upon the darkness in his own backyard.

Hollywood Play-Girls (1966) occupies a transitional moment in American cinema. No longer constrained by the rigid moral scrutiny of the Hays’ code, filmmakers began to experiment with more frank depictions of sexuality. Already emboldened by the looser standards of the French New Wave, Williams charged ahead of the pack with his sordid tale of prostitution and serial murder based on his novella “Seamy Town.”

A string of killings occur within a four-block radius of Sunset and Vine. All of the victims work for Madame Ovary who runs a string of cathouses along Hollywood Boulevard. Unable to go to the LAPD, she hires a private detective to track down the killer. As the investigation unfolds, an up-and-coming Danish film director, Washur Dreyer, becomes the prime suspect.

The film had been considered lost for decades but a private collector recently discovered a fragment of an interpositive print from the credit sequence to the feature. Since the fragment lacked an audio track, The J.X. Williams Archive hired rock band Spindrift to contribute an original score. This is the result.

The Music

Vocalist Sasha Vallely originally wrote “Shadytown (Theme from Hollywood Play-Girls)” about her lonely experience growing up in Birmingham, England. Upon hearing the demo, the J.X. Williams Archive found it to be an uncanny fit for the recently unearthed title sequence from Hollywood Play-Girls. By sheer coincidence, J.X. had adapted the film from his similarly named noir-
sex pulp novel “Seamy Town”.

“Shadytown” is the second installment from Classic Soundtracks Vol.1, a collaborative pairing of soundtracks with work from various directors. The song was re-recorded in December 2010 at Hicksville Trailer Palace in Joshua Tree, CA. Ethan Allen engineered and mixed the track.ocalist Sasha Vallely originally wrote “Shadytown (Theme from Hollywood Play-Girls)” about her lonely experience growing up in Birmingham, England. Upon hearing the demo, the J.X. Williams Archive found it to be anuncanny fit for the recently unearthed title sequence from Hollywood Play-Girls.By sheer coincidence, J.X. had adapted the film from his similarly named noir-sex pulp novel “Seamy Town”.

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One Response to "Hollywood Playgirls & Shadytown"

  1. Dave says:

    This is a fascinating little fragment, saved from the archives of oblivion. But is the “J.X. Williams” of sleazy (for want of a better adjective) Hollywood really the same as the “J.X. Williams” of sleazy books?

    For the books, mostly published by one of the “Greenleaf Classics” lines, Williams was a house name, written by various authors (264 titles!). It’s said that the first “J.X. Williams” was John Jakes, who later become “respectable” and put his sleaze days behind him; the “J.X.”, if pronounced phonetically, comes out as “Jakes”. (A number of young authors who later become respectable honed their skills and earned some quick cash by cranking out sleaze in the late 50’s and early 60’s.) The “greenleaf-classics-books” website (suffix that with “dot com” to peruse) lists known authors of the individual books; it does not attribute an author to “Seamy Town”, indicating we don’t know who did this one.

    “J.X. Williams” is credited in IMDB with several short films. But who is that person?

    Anyway, this may be the first word of encouragement in the 10 years this post has been up, but I found it interesting.

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