This short experimental 16mm documentary film of the underground scene in London features fans running amok at a concert by The Rolling Stones at the Royal Albert Hall; The Animals recording When I Was Young; pop illustrator Alan Aldridge using a naked girl as a canvas; Vanessa Redgrave dressed in khaki garb while singing a Cuban revolutionary song in support of Fidel Castro; Michael Caine condemning mini skirts and The Pink Floyd recording their 16-minute track, Interstellar Overdrive.
Julie Christie talks about going to the Canary Islands after filming Dr Zhivago and not talking to anyone for a week, and Mick Jagger sweetly speculates about what we’ll do in the future when we only have to work four hours a day.
The film is divided into seven “Movements” – ‘Loss of Empire’; ‘Dolly Girls’; ‘Protest’; ‘It’s All Pop Music’; ‘Movie Stars’; ‘Painting Pop’ and ‘As Scene From the USA’ – followed by a “Happy End”.
There are brief cameos from David Hockney, Andrew Loog Oldham, Vashti Bunyan, Allen Ginsberg, Ace Kefford, Lee Marvin, Roman Polanski, Christopher Stamp, Terence Stamp and Sharon Tate amongst many others.
There is no narration or story, just 67 minutes of music, stars, fashion, artists, odd camera movements, psychedelic colour effects and complicated montages of stock footage combined with new material.
As a time capsule of Swinging London – from CND protests to dolly birds – it is first rate, and Peter Whitehead’s single roving camera has somehow captured the era’s youthful naughtiness and daring in a timeless way.
The Pink Floyd
Andrew Loog Oldham
Twice as Much