Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Tonight Lets All Make Love in London (1967)

Tonite Let's All Make Love In London (1967) from Will Andrade on Vimeo.

Legendary film about the height and light of swinging London. Music by The Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett at the helm.

Depending on which face the English counter-cultural occultural magus Peter Whitehead decides to show you, he can be a seminal film maker; one of the world's leading falcon expert and procurer; a novelist with over twelve books under his belt (some can be read on-line at his website); alleged British intelligence operative (which of course he denies) and a pop video pioneer (having made very early videos for Marianne Faithful and the Rolling Stones).

Shot in the mid-sixties, 'Tonite Let's All Make Love In London' is a 1967documentary that captures the various themes personalities and music of an emerging psychedelic counter-cultural London. Featuring the sounds of early Pink Floyd The Animals and the Rolling Stones the film is interlaced with interviews with such sixties icons as Julie Christie David Hockney Mick Jagger and Andrew Loog Oldham as well as archive footage of the 1965 Albert Hall poetry reading (which Peter Whitehead released as the short documentary Wholly Communion posted elsewhere on my channel) and the 1967 gig and happening called The 14 Hour Technicolour Dream (held at Alexandra Palace as a fundraiser for the underground paper International Times which featured a number of bands and artists with a legendary performance from an early Pink Floyd released as the short documentary Pink Floyd London 66/67).

These two events are considered the ground zero of sixties UK psychedelic counter-culture and Peter Whitehead captured both events on film. The documentary also features cameo appearances from John Lennon and Yoko Ono (before they met) and incongruously Lee Marvin. Of course some of the scenes seem terribly dated (such as the interview with a swinging London dollybird which in these days of hyper-sexuality and slut walks seems almost quaint) and yet it reminds us of a time when thinking was not considered suspect and pop stars and film stars had more to say than simply "buy me".

There are so many classic moments in this film but my favourite moment has to be a young Vanessa Redgrave, dressed in rather fetching Cuban revolutionary chic at a political rally in the Albert Hall and haltingly singing the most famous Cuban song of them all 'Guantanamera'; the word poignant is made for these rare occasions when something entirely of the moment and yet simultaneously timeless is captured on film (to see her ingratiatingly bowing to British Royalty at a 2008 awards ceremony makes me wonder if I am missing something crucial).

IMDb reference:

Good review of the film here:

Excellent interview with Peter Whitehead:

Short 1993 on-line interview with Peter Whitehead discussing this film and the context in which it was made:

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