Friday, April 22, 2011

Bad Girl

Bad Girl from Madonna's 1992 Erotica album is not just one of Madonna's greatest videos, but one of the greatest videos of all time. Over used words today like Epic should be attributed to works such as this. This is cinema, this is storyline, this is acting, this is David Fincher, and above all, this is Madonna doing what she does best.

Madonna solely brought Movie Star into the rock music world back in 1984 with Mary Lambert's Borderline playing a Lolita of the streets character. Nine years later with Bad Girl, we get what would be her Academy Award winning performance as Louise Oriole - an on the verge, alcoholic fashion magazine editor who has a sexual compulsion and flirts with death rather than deal with her feelings of depression from a dying relationship.

David Fincher directs this fourth and final video with Madonna. Christopher Walken co-stars as the guardian angel watching over Louise in discontent while protecting her every move until the one moment he falters while reading about the Bloody Rampage Killer in the New York Post that will eventually take her life.

We have great stuff here. Louise licking Friskee's cat food off her finger. Dropping her dirty lace underpants in the bathroom sink. Roaming the streets, bars and restaurants of New York with fabulous hair, face and Azzedine Alaia power suits. And Madonna giving one of her greatest on screen performances. This is what Body of Evidence should have been and she knows it, hence why we have this superb video. Madonna was not going to let this moment in time pass without giving it the punctuation mark she wanted.

Bad Girl trivia: Originally to be directed by Tim Burton (initially reported in Liz Smith's column in 1992). Cameo from James Rebhorn - whom Madonna abandons towards the end for killer - also had a role in Woody Allen's Shadow and Fog which Madonna had a cameo - as trapeze artist, Marie. Rebhorn also had a role in Fincher's 1997 film, The Game, starring ex-husband Sean Penn. Christopher Walken played Sean Penn's father in James Foley's At Close Range. Oriole, the main character's last name, is the street that Madonna lived on when she divorced Penn and was the house photographed for Vogue in 1989 - it is of the 'bird streets' that name that entire section of the Hollywood Hills.


  1. one of the BEST music videos EVER for sure!! a flawless madonna, a flawless video and one of the most underratted songs of all time!! bad girl didn't take the credits it should take. ADORE IT!!

  2. Awesome post Pud. You've now written the definitive piece on this video.

    Tim Burton - always was confused about this. Did you know that crappy MTV-Europe (who regularly talked rubbish) said Tim Burton did the video THE DAY THEY PREMIERED IT LOL!!! (we all knew by that time that it was David Fincher).

    The weekend the video permiered over here, Christopher Walken was in London and appeared on Jonathan Ross' show. He was asked briefly about "Bad Girl" and how he ended up in it - he just said that he was friends with Madonna and mentioned being in "At Close Range".

    I said it before - but for me the Erotica videos are the best bunch of videos from any one album she did - even though I way prefer other albums themselves. Bad Girl, Rain and Deeper & Deeper are masterpieces of *epic* proportions. Erotica and Fever are outstanding.

  3. a cinematic masterpiece!! I've been daydreaming that Fincher should direct M in "sunset Blvd" since Webber started talking about it. but the 4 viceos they did is all we need really,,even though we can dream about them working 2gether again

  4. Awesome review PUD!

    This is one of my favorite videos of all time.

    Loved the line "Madonna was not going to let this moment in time pass without giving it the punctuation mark she wanted." Could of said it better myself.

    The Madonna Blog:

  5. This video is truly 'epic'! Love everything about it!
    I read somewhere that Matt Dillon made a cameo in this video as a cop/detective. On MTV Europe they would sometimes air an edited version
    of the video which would always piss me off back then.

  6. great great review pud. this video is a master piece. i agree that erotica era videos are some of the best ever. thank you

  7. Gorgeous from beginning to end. Madonna's most underrated video, and really, one of the best videos to ever have been made.

    Incredible piece of work. Never get sick of watching it.

    I wrote a piece about it a few years back for college...analyzing the video. Check it out if you have a moment.

  8. hey Cristian - i too wrote a piece about this video at uni years ago. we had to choose a 'non-linear' video and analyse it. stunning work. a masterpiece for sure.

  9. I never really liked "Bad girl", neither the song nor the video, but you Pud and all the commenters made me give it another chance, and you're right! It's really good! The song and the video! A very underrated Madonna classic...

  10. @evrybdygegeget : would love to read it. Post it here if you get a chance.

    @Miss Worldwide: glad you revisited the video and the song. Her delivery for the track isn't her best, but it's still a gorgeous song imo...and this belongs in some sort of museum. It really is an incredible piece of work.

    And I'm with Pudwhacker...this is the way Body of Evidence *should* have turned out (but unfortunately didn't).

  11. never a big fan of BG myself, but david fincher can do no wrong. check out all his paula abdul videos. now that took serious talent.

  12. Cristian, i don't have a copy unfortunately. i remember referencing your article in it, if i remember correctly!