Written by: Carroll Jenkins on July 22nd, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1968
Director: Bob Levis
Cast: Del Close, Garry Goodrow, Caroline Parr, Sam Ridge
DVD released: July 27th, 2010
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Wild Eye Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $16.95
From the trailer: “This is a western, comedy, nudie, drama, musical, manifesto, movement, happening, freak-out”. Yes, there is a plot, but existentially it’s all happening, man.
This was directed (or ‘organized’) by one shot filmmaker Bob Lewis in ’68. It went unreleased at the time, no doubt due the frequent full frontal nudity from both sexes, and the extensive use of drugs and alcohol. All were depicted on-screen as well. In 1972, while in England, the MC5 (Motor City 5) recorded songs for the soundtrack, and the credits montage was assembled (many of the pics were post ’68). The film played in London and a UK only soundtrack album was released.
Since that time the film was almost entirely known by virtue of the rare soundtrack album and it’s desirability to legions of MC5 fans. These are their last recordings and were never released stateside. It therefore ranks among the Detroit demi-gods most collectible items, though trailing behind the first A2 45 (I Can Only Give You Everything / One Of The Guys), the second with picture sleeve (Looking At You / Borderline), and the original release of the Electra album, Kick Out The Jams, with the White Panther Party liner notes by John Sinclair.
The stars are improvisational comedy master Del Close as a lame [literally] prophet for the revolution, and Gary Goodrow (National Lampoon’s Lemmings) as the uptight and hypocritical bastion of law and order. The train ride sequence featuring a killer MC5 tune is interrupted by a rest stop with polarized outdoors sex (how did she keep her wig on?), then back on board for more. This segment alone is worth the ride, and that doesn’t count the naked hippies – lots of them. The guys and gals are all well endowed, so imagine a Woodstock variant that shows nothing but naked hippies cavorting while Mountain plays their entire set. Even so, this is better.
A super looking full screen presentation – miraculous for such an obscure film. There are also significant extras including two commentaries, historic interviews, recent trailer and lobbies. What it doesn’t have is 1) removable subtitles – for such an off-the-cuff dialog heavy film that would be a blessing, and 2) THE SOUNDTRACK of songs, in any form.
Quite the mess, but so was Casablanca (both were well edited). Gold wears it’s authentic psychedelic credentials on it’s sleeve, if we could find the pile of discarded clothing.
Notes: The early MC5 tracks are available on ’66 Breakout!, including their first three studio tracks: I Can Only Give You Everything, One Of The Guys, I Just Don’t Know. And I met Fred (Sonic) Smith’s sister on my honeymoon. Cool.