REVIEW

 

PINK FLOYD
Tonite Let's All Make Love In London [POTWDVD026 1DVD NTSC yeeshkul 43630]
This is the original 1967 film by Peter Whitehead called "Tonite Let's All Make Love In London" and it lasts about one hour. This is not the mini-documentary called "Pink Floyd London '66-'67", that Whitehead produced in 1994, which is 30 minutes long and has the complete Floyd songs Interstellar Overdrive and Nick's Boogie as the audio track. The 1994 film was released in DVD format in 2005, but the 1967 documentary was never released on DVD. The Laserdisc contains Japanese subtitles encoded in the video during the interviews and chapter titles. Pro-shot. Video Ex; Audio Ex SBD stereo LPCM.

Psychedelic landmark it may be, but there’s no getting away from the fact that Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London is also pretty boring. Seven chapters, dedicated to such themes as the decline of the British empire, dolly birds, making music, painting and protest, strive to bring some form of cohesive documentary overview to the hour-long film, but director Whitehead’s short form genius deserts him here, as he simply tries too hard to nail the zeitgeist of Swinging London, 1967.

In short bursts, there are some fascinating sequences. The now familiar footage that merges Floyd’s "Interstellar Overdrive" with sundry psychedelic effects appeals only as a period piece. But footage of Andrew Loog Oldham working in the studio with twice as Much and Vashti Bunyan entertains; there’s some neat Stones performance, and Eric Burdon’s performance of "When I Was Young" merges with news footage from Vietnam to create what would, in modern parlance, be regarded as a seriously thought-provoking video. The Marquis of Kensington’s sadly whimsical "The Changing Of The Guard" likewise fits perfectly with footage of that same ceremony.

Interspersed with this, however, interviews with Mick Jagger, Julie Christie, Edna O’Brien, Michael Caine and sundry others entertain only as slices of quaint kitsch, while Vanessa Redgrave journeys from radical to shrill in less time than it takes to chant "Guatamera." And they each go on for way too long.

As a time capsule/period piece, Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London does celebrate the culture which spawned it and, in those terms, is no less valuable than any of the other "state of the nation" style movies that were fluttering around the underground of the age. But, like them, it now seems too dated that even the music cannot really salvage it. Stick with the soundtrack album! - Dave Thompson

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February 29, 2008