Robert Mugge




Student Films

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Music Films and Documentaries

Amateur Night at City Hall: The Story of Frank L. Rizzo

Now on DVD from MVD Visual!

The Story of Frank L. Rizzo

A 75-minute "musical" documentary about the late Mayor of Philadelphia Frank L. Rizzo


Amateur Night at City Hall Front Cover Amateur Night at City Hall Back Cover
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"The 75-minute color film, which is also booked into theaters in New York and Washington, D.C., is not only a very professionally put together documentary about Rizzo's career, but an attempt to relate the man and his "style" to the kind of cheap, third-rate entertainer that South Philly has been turning out for years… The movie works on two levels: as a well-researched and very professionally put together piece of film journalism, and as a tongue-in-cheek interpretation-assessment of Rizzo's career."
- Lewis Beale, Drummer (Philadelphia's alternative weekly at that time)

"AMATEUR NIGHT is a real pro job… The filmmakers have used a simple - but dazzling - framing device to pull together all the disparate elements of Rizzo's personality: they have intercut footage of the mayor (and his opponents) with scenes from performances by amateurs at the Triangle Tavern, a well-known bar in South Philadelphia, Rizzo's political and emotional base… RIZZO neatly shows the mayor's turn on the stage, and, unlike the man himself, is a class act."
- Tom Topor, New York Post

"Opening in April at selected theaters across the country is a documentary that has Philadelphia buzzing - AMATEUR NIGHT AT CITY HALL: The Story of Frank L. Rizzo… The movie charts Rizzo's rise from a cop on the beat to mayor of the nation's fourth largest city."
- US Magazine

"The film opened without incident at the Walnut Mall Theater on the University of Pennsylvania campus last February. When it aired nationally on PBS, however, the mayor was so outraged that he nearly reneged on a deal to lease the city-owned Living History Center to WHYY (Channel 12), the public broadcasting station here, for having shown the film."
- Carol Wallace, Philadelphia Daily News

"Director Robert Mugge filmed the stellar Amateur Night at City Hall: The Story of Frank L. Rizzo in 1977, when Rizzo was in his second term as mayor, and the city was as divided over Rizzo’s character as voters are today over Trump’s."
-  David Gambacorta, Philadelphia magazine


Amateur Night at City Hall Poster


Bob Mugge put on a sandwich board adverstising Amateur Night at City Hall