Recording on a Bolex 16mm camera and 100-feet rolls of film, Andy Warhol set about filming Bob Dylan as part of his growing number of short films.
It’s estimated that Warhol created in excess of 472 short films between 1964 and 1966 alongside his trusted assistant Gerard Malanga. Of those mass amount of films, the likes of Edie Sedgwick, Salvador Dali, Nico, Marcel Duchamp, Allen Ginsberg, Dennis Hopper, Lou Reed and Susan Sontag all posed for Warhol at his infamous Factory Studio on New York’s East 47th Street.
Warhol, who created the film series and labeled them ‘Screen Tests’ as part of an ongoing joke. Malanga, his assistant, once said: “None of these screen tests amounted to giving those people the opportunity to go on in the underground film world,” in a 2009 interview. “It was kind of a parody of Hollywood.”
In late July 1965, a time when Dylan had just performed his now historic ‘electric’ performance at the Newport Folk Festival, he strolled into Warhol’s studio and became his subject. With two rolls of film lined up for a close up and a wide shot, Warhol let the camera roll and captured Dylan.
Warhol biographers Tony Scherman and David Dalton, who created the book Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol, wrote that “he [Warhol] was clearly star-struck, in awe of Dylan’s sudden, vast celebrity. He had a more practical agenda, too: to get Dylan to appear in a Warhol movie.”
Rumour has it that once filming had finished, Dylan walked over to a large painting of Elvis Presley that Warhol had just completed and said “I think I’ll just take this for payment, man” but Warhol had arranged to had it over to Dylan as a gift anyway.
Here it is: