The Films of Jack Smith

See also Jack Smith's biography.

Flaming Creatures

Poster from Flaming Creatures

1961 B & W 48 minutes

In this, his best known film, characters cavort in a setting reminiscent of the court of Ali Baba, with a mood suggestive of the paintings of Heironymous Bosch. The film is a quasi-documentary of Androgynes and Transvestites in which flaccid penises and bouncing breasts are so ambiguously equated as to disarm any distinction between male and female. In Flaming Creatures, Smith manages to combine the ornate imagination of his youth with the realities of adult fantasy. Stars Francis Francine, Joel Markman, and others; sound by Tony Conrad.

Available on 16mm film: Canyon Cinema.

Normal Love

Normal Love image

1963 color, 80 minutes

Smith's second feature length film appears to derive from his adoration of Maria Montez, the B- movie star best know for her performance in "Cobra Woman." It features a variety of 30's horror film monsters, a mermaid, a lecher, and various cuties performed by a cast which included Mario Montez, John Vaccaro, Diane DePrima, Beverly Grant, Tiny Tim, and others.

Scotch Tape

1962 3 minutes

A master sense of spiritual nothingness (JS)

Available: Canyon Cinema


1960 5 min on audio cassette.

This short film, restored in 1995 stars Jerry Sims and the late filmmaker, Bob Fleischner. It is an early filmic exploration of the "aesthetic of delirium" which Smith developed in his later films. At one time, in the 1970's this film was treated by Smith as a fragment, and included it in various film/performances with No President. The audio cassette has 12 minutes of material and can be played at any point for the duration of the film.

Available: Canyon Cinema

Normal Love Addendum Reel

1968 20 minutes

An additional twenty minutes of Material from Normal Love featuring Tiny Tim, John Vaccaro and others. These scenes were not included in the restored version of the film, as Smith apparently did not include them on the original music cue sheet which served as a basis for the restoration.

No President

1968 Restoration in Progress approx 50 minutes

Smith's third feature film was originally titled "The Kidnapping of Wendell Willkie by the Love Bandit," in reaction to the 1968 Presidential Campaign. Willkie was a liberal Republican who ran against FDR in the 1940's. It mixes B&W footage of Smith's creatures with old campaign footage of Willkie. The climax of the work appears to be the "auctioning" of the presidential candidate at the convention.

Available: late 1997

Respectable Creatures

25 min

This film, titled by Jack Smith is an unusual blending of his first known film, "Buzzards Over Baghdad" with stray images from "Normal Love" concluding with material which he shot at Carnaval in Rio circa 1967.

Available: late 1997

Bowery Dawn

aka "Wino" 30 min B & W

An astonishingly beautiful film in which Jack brings his camera onto the Bowery, filming the homeless, interacting with them. Restoration in progress.

Available: late 1997

I was A Male Yvonne Decarlo

30 min BW, Performance restoration in progress

Jack Smith as Yvonne deCarlo, the antithesis of Maria Montez. Fans pay tribute to this false movie goddess in this rare document of Jack Smith in performance on film.

Available: late 1997


12 min color Restoration In Progress.

A document of a Jack Smith performance entitled "Rented Island".

Hot Air Specialists

4 min (1970's) color

A short film in which a man courts a drag queen. Restoration in progress.


c. 1976

With Jack as the morbid Prince of Denmark. Restoration in progress.

Jungle Jack in Cologne Zoo

Approximately 20 minutes. restoration in progress

Jack visits Germany

Reefers of Technicolor Island

- AKA Jungle Island


restoration in progress

Color Heatwave of Tabu

- Restoration in Progress

Super 8

Jack Smith left about 35 minutes of Super 8 films. Restoration in progress

See also Jack Smith's biography.

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