Town Bloody Hall

On April 30, 1971, a standing-room-only crowd of New York’s intellectual elite packed the city’s Town Hall theater to see Norman Mailer—fresh from the controversy over his essay “The Prisoner of Sex” and the backlash it received from leaders of the women’s movement—tangle with a panel of four prominent female thinkers and activists: Jacqueline Ceballos, Germaine Greer, Jill Johnston, and Diana Trilling. Part intellectual death match, part three-ring circus, the event was captured with crackling, fly-on-the-wall immediacy by the documentary great D. A. Pennebaker and a small crew, with Chris Hegedus later condensing the three-hour affair into this briskly entertaining snapshot of a singular cultural moment. Heady, heated, and hilarious, Town Bloody Hall is a dazzling display of feminist firepower courtesy of some of the most influential figures of the era, with Mailer plainly relishing his role as the pugnacious rabble-rouser and literary lion at the center of it all.

Film Info

Director-Approved Special Edition Features

  • New 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Chris Hegedus, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with Hegedus
  • Audio commentary from 2004 featuring Hegedus and author Germaine Greer
  • Footage from a 2004 celebration of the film, which brought together participants Greer, Jacqueline Ceballos, and Jill Johnston and directors Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker
  • Appearance from 1971 on The Dick Cavett Show by author Norman Mailer, promoting his book The Prisoner of Sex
  • Archival interviews with Greer and Mailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Melissa Anderson

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Purchase Options

Released Aug 18, 2020

Special Features

  • New 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Chris Hegedus, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with Hegedus
  • Audio commentary from 2004 featuring Hegedus and author Germaine Greer
  • Footage from a 2004 celebration of the film, which brought together participants Greer, Jacqueline Ceballos, and Jill Johnston and directors Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker
  • Appearance from 1971 on The Dick Cavett Show by author Norman Mailer, promoting his book The Prisoner of Sex
  • Archival interviews with Greer and Mailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Melissa Anderson

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Town Bloody Hall
Cast
Jacqueline Ceballos
Germaine Greer
Jill Johnston
Norman Mailer
Diana Trilling
Credits
Director
Chris Hegedus
Director
D. A. Pennebaker
Producer
Shirley Broughton
Producer
Edith Van
Camera
D. A. Pennebaker
Camera
Jim Desmond
Camera
Mark Woodcock
Editor
Chris Hegedus
Sound
Bob Van Dyke
Sound
Kathy Desmond
Sound
Mary Lampson
Sound
Kate Taylor

From The Current

Town Bloody Hall: On the High Seas
Town Bloody Hall: On the High Seas

This triumph of Direct Cinema captures a high-profile moment in the history of second-wave feminism in all its heady, histrionic glory.

By Melissa Anderson

10 Things I Learned: Town Bloody Hall
10 Things I Learned: Town Bloody Hall

The producer of our edition of Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker’s landmark documentary shares what she learned about the galvanizing figures at the center of the film.

By Kim Hendrickson