Psychedelic landmark it may be, but theres no getting away from the fact that Tonite Lets 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 Whiteheads 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 Floyds "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; theres some neat Stones performance, and Eric Burdons 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 Kensingtons 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 OBrien, 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 Lets 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! -
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