After the death of Malcolm McLaren, film critic (and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls scribe), Roger Ebert posted on his always-excellent journal, McLaren & Meyer & Rotten & Vicious & Me, his take on getting a Sex Pistols movie off the ground with Dolls director, Russ Meyer.
At the time, Ebert had no idea who the Sex Pistols were. The Pistols, though, very much wanted to work with the creative team behind Dolls, a movie Johnny Rotten deemed as being, “true to life.” It’s a funny, informative account that somehow, along the way, accommodates both P.J. Proby and Scientology.
As to why the movie, Who Killed Bambi?, never happened, various reasons have been circulated: Maybe 20th Century Fox pulled the plug after reading the resulting screenplay, or McLaren’s shaky finances would never have covered the film’s budget. Or perhaps, most intriguingly, (Princess) Grace Kelly, who served on the Fox board of directors, simply didn’t want the studio to back another Russ Meyer X-travaganza (likely profits be damned).
Oh well, we still have Julien Temple’s The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle and The Filth and The Fury. But we can now add to that era another document. Ebert just posted on his journal the complete screenplay for Who Killed Bambi? Here’s a sample:
Just then the SEX PISTOLS appear on the screen. They’re dressed in what could be described as Proto-Punk: The look is definitely different from that of the other people on the line, and yet isn’t as well-defined as it will be later on.
They split up to work the line: They’re of it, but not in it. STEVE carries his guitar, vaguely suggesting they’re into music of some sort. SID VICIOUS goes into his famous Sun-Glasses dance, his hands inverted and placed in front of his eyes to suggest either binoculars or a Batman-style headdress. The Pistols seem amused by the notion that people would stand in line in an unemployment queue at all.
Proby watches, fascinated by their wonderfully Downtrodden look, as they approach the others.
SID VICIOUS (to the Miner)
Why stand in line, you silly twit?
It’s your money - why wait for it?
Why don’t they provide seating out here?
The crowd grows silent, uneasy, in the face of the attack.
They take it with one hand and give it back with the other.
So smash it and take it!
And while Ebert refuses to comment on his script, “I can’t discuss what I wrote, why I wrote it, or what I should or shouldn’t have written. Frankly, I have no idea,” here he is in ‘88 with Meyer and McLaren discussing—and venting over—Who Killed Bambi?