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‘Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London’: Swinging Sixties time capsule with Pink Floyd soundtrack
01.07.2013
01:12 pm

Topics:
History
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Pink Floyd
Peter Whitehead


 
France’s ARTE TV called British art-house auteur Peter Whitehead: “Che Guevara with a camera.” Throughout the 1960s, Whitehead always managed to find himself in the right place at the right time with the right people and his camera. The Cambridge-educated filmmaker, a pal of the Rolling Stones—he directed their 60s promo videos, and the Charlie is My Darling documentary—shot the beatnik goings on at the Allen Ginsberg-led Albert Hall Poetry Festival in 1965 for his Wholly Communion film and captured the anti-Vietnam protests in America in The Fall, an extraordinary polemic from 1969 (Whitehead himself was barricaded in with the Columbia students who took over Low Library. Click on that link, you’ll be glad you did).

One of Whitehead’s most fascinating films, and perhaps the single best time capsule that exists of “Swinging London” in the Sixties, is his 1967 semi-documentary Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London.  Ali Catterall and Simon Wells described the film in Your Face Here: British Cult Movies Since the Sixties:

Beautifully shot, with a Syd Barrett-led Pink Floyd supplying the soundtrack, it is perhaps the only true masterpiece of the period, offering a visually captivating window on the ‘in’ crowd. Revealing, often very personal interviews with the era’s prime movers - Michael Caine, Julie Christie, David Hockney and Mick Jagger - are interspersed by dazzling images of the ‘dedicated followers of fashion’, patronizing the clubs and discotheques of the day. As a trusted confidant of the Rolling Stones, who had filmed their first US tour, and a member of the inner circle, Whitehead was able to give an unusually free rein to his eye for detail.”

Not to mention appearances by Lee Marvin, Vanessa Redgrave, Andrew Loog Oldham, Michael Caine, famed illustrator Alan Aldridge, Vashti Bunyan, John Lennon milling about at the Pink Floyd’s “14 Hour Technicolor Dream” event that also featured Yoko Ono on the bill months before the pair would meet, Eric Burdon and the Animals and many more famous faces (including Dolly Reed, later of Russ Meyer’s Beyond The Valley of the Dolls, when she was a Playboy bunny, arriving off the plane for a freezing cold photo op.)

After leaving filmmaking behind to breed falcons and write novels, Whitehead returned in 2010 with Terrorism Considered as One of the Fine Arts, his first film in 32 years.

Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London used to be very difficult to see (indeed, when I first saw it 30 years ago, I had to check out it out of the ICA in London’s video library and watch it in a tiny room by myself with headphones). For a short while it was out on VHS, this version, with hard-coded Japanese subtitles comes from a laserdisc).
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
I’m Not Sayin’: Pre-Velvet Underground Nico with Jimmy Page and Brian Jones, 1965

Via The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Never-before-seen footage: The Rolling Stones play the Beatles, 1965
10.18.2012
02:32 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
The Beatles
Rolling Stones
Peter Whitehead


 
A young Mick Jagger and Keith Richards relax playing “I’ve Just Seen A Face” and “Eight Days a Week,” as an unamused Charlie Watts looks on. From the upcoming expanded version of Charlie is my Darling, Peter Whitehead’s seldom-seen film documenting the Stones’ 1965 trek across Ireland:

ABKCO Films presents a meticulously restored and fully-realized version of this first-ever, legendary, but never released film. Shot during a quick tour of Ireland just weeks after (I Can t Get No) Satisfaction hit # 1 on the charts, The Rolling Stones Charlie is my Darling - Ireland 1965 is an intimate, behind-the-scenes diary of life on the road with the young Stones. It features the first professionally filmed concert performances of the band and documents the early frenzy of their fans and the riots the band s appearances inspired. The band is shown traveling through the Irish countryside by train; dashing from cabs to cramped, basement dressing rooms through screaming hordes of fans. Motel rooms host impromptu songwriting sessions and familiar classics are heard in their infancy as riff and lyric are united. Charlie is my Darling is the invaluable frame that captures the spark about to combust into The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.

 

 
Thank you, you know who you are!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Brian is my darling: Interviews with Brian Jones


 
Here’s something from the Dangerous Minds’ archives. The original article contained a link to Charlie Is My Darling in its entirety. Unfortunately, it was removed from the web. I did manage to find this compilation of clips featuring Brian Jones excerpted from the movie. I thought you might appreciate them on the anniversary of his untimely death.

Produced by the The Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham and directed by Peter Whitehead Charlie Is My Darling documents the band’s 1965 two city tour of Ireland. A somewhat haphazard affair, the film is none-the-less a fascinating glimpse into the life of The Stones on the road, backstage, performing and getting drunk. It also includes some footage of fans rioting at London’s Royal Albert Hall which was later inserted at Oldham’s behest to make the movie more commercial.

Whitehead directed one of the seminal films about the swinging sixties, Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London, and the exhilarating documentary of the infamous beat poet gathering at Royal Albert Hall, Wholly Communion. After seeing Wholly Communion, Oldham picked Whitehead to direct a freewheeling film that would compete with the success of the Beatle movies. The result was something a bit darker and rougher than anything produced by the Beatles at the time.

Charlie Is My Darling was given its premiere at the Mannheim Film Festival in 1966 when Joseph von Sternberg was Director of the Festival. He said - “When all the other films at this festival are long forgotten, this film will still be watched - as a unique document of its times.”

Filmed over three days in Dublin and Belfast, the film captures the boys in all their pristine and unspoilt pagan energy and satanic glory - soon after the release of their first big single in America - the record which established them there - “I can’t get no satisfaction.”

The passionate stage performances are finally wrecked by fans getting on the stage - the boys have to flee for their lives over railway lines when they arrive in Belfast. Scenes in the dressing room are highlighted by Keith playing acoustic Blues guitar - showing what a master he was on the guitar, and how serious he had always been about Blues music. Interviews with Charlie and Bill are very revealing - but most poignant of all is the interview with Brian Jones in which he discusses his threatened future as a Rolling Stone. Speaking only of ‘time’ and ‘insecurity of his future as a Rolling Stone’, he seemed already unconsciously aware of his fate. Did he not deliberately bring it upon himself?

The film ends with the legendary scenes of Keith and Mick drunk in the hotel ballroom - Keith playing the piano (extremely well!) and Mick doing an accurate and subversive impersonation of Elvis.”

The rights to Charlie Is My Darling and its soundtrack became entangled in legal problems when Allen Klein took over management of The Stones. Klein had a rep for being difficult (which is putting it kindly) when it came to controlling the band’s assets. So the original cut of the film was never released on video. A DVD version was released in England with a soundtrack of generic instrumental pop as background music and is basically unwatchable.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Charlie may be your darling but Brian is mine: Stones’ documentary from 1965

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Produced by the The Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham and directed by Peter Whitehead Charlie Is My Darling documents the band’s 1965 two city tour of Ireland. A somewhat haphazard affair, the film is none-the-less a fascinating glimpse into the life of The Stones on the road, backstage, performing and getting drunk. It also includes some footage of fans rioting at London’s Royal Albert Hall which was later inserted at Oldham’s behest to make the movie more commercial.

Whitehead directed one of the seminal films about the swinging sixties, Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London, and the exhilarating documentary of the infamous beat poet gathering at Royal Albert Hall, Wholly Communion. After seeing Wholly Communion, Oldham picked Whitehead to direct a freewheeling film that would compete with the success of the Beatle movies. The result was something a bit darker and rougher than anything produced by the Beatles at the time.

Charlie Is My Darling was given its premiere at the Mannheim Film Festival in 1966 when Joseph von Sternberg was Director of the Festival. He said - “When all the other films at this festival are long forgotten, this film will still be watched - as a unique document of its times.”

Filmed over three days in Dublin and Belfast, the film captures the boys in all their pristine and unspoilt pagan energy and satanic glory - soon after the release of their first big single in America - the record which established them there - “I can’t get no satisfaction”.

The passionate stage performances are finally wrecked by fans getting on the stage - the boys have to flee for their lives over railway lines when they arrive in Belfast. Scenes in the dressing room are highlighted by Keith playing acoustic Blues guitar - showing what a master he was on the guitar, and how serious he had always been about Blues music. Interviews with Charlie and Bill are very revealing - but most poignant of all is the interview with Brian Jones in which he discusses his threatened future as a Rolling Stone. Speaking only of ‘time’ and ‘insecurity of his future as a Rolling Stone’, he seemed already unconsciously aware of his fate. Did he not deliberately bring it upon himself?

The film ends with the legendary scenes of Keith and Mick drunk in the hotel ballroom - Keith playing the piano (extremely well!) and Mick doing an accurate and subversive impersonation of Elvis.”

The rights to Charlie Is My Darling and its soundtrack became entangled in legal problems when Allen Klein took over management of The Stones. Klein had a rep for being difficult (which is putting it kindly) when it came to controlling the band’s assets. So the original cut of the film was never released on video. A DVD version was released in England with a soundtrack of generic instrumental pop as background music and is basically unwatchable.

Here’s the real deal:
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
When poets were rock stars: 1965’s literary Woodstock ‘Wholly Communion’

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British film maker Peter Whitehead chronicled London’s sixties counterculture scene in Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London and the seminal rock and roll of the decade in videos and documentaries for The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. What Whitehead did for pop culture, he did for poetry in the combustible Wholly Communion.

On 11 June 1965, the Royal Albert Hall played host to a slew of American and European beat poets for an extraordinary impromptu event - the International Poetry Incarnation - that arguably marked the birth of London’s gestating counterculture. Cast in the role of historian, as a man-on-the-scene, and massively elevating his limited resources, Whitehead constructed the extraordinary Wholly Communion from the unfolding circus. As Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Harry Fainlight, Alexander Trocchi and others took to the stage, Whitehead confidently wandered with his borrowed camera, creating a participatory and anarchic film that is as much a landmark as the event itself, and launched his career.

 
When poets were rock stars. Enjoy Wholly Communion in all of its delightful chaos.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Peter Whitehead’s rarely seen pop art masterpiece: ‘Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London’

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Copping its title from an Allen Ginsberg poem, Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London is the quintessential cinematic pop explosion. This rarely seen 1968 documentary directed by Peter Whitehead captures a time when rock and roll was the most powerful force on the planet.

Beautifully shot, with a Syd Barrett-led Pink Floyd supplying the soundtrack, it is perhaps the only true masterpiece of the period, offering a visually captivating window on the ‘in’ crowd. Revealing, often very personal interviews with the era’s prime movers - Michael Caine, Julie Christie, David Hockney and Mick Jagger - are interspersed by dazzling images of the ‘dedicated followers of fashion’, patronizing the clubs and discotheques of the day. As a trusted confidant of the Rolling Stones, who had filmed their first US tour, and a member of the inner circle, Whitehead was able to give an unusually free rein to his eye for detail.”

Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London is not currently available on video. This is from an out-of-print Japanese laserdisc. Dig it! It contains footage of the coolest human being to walk the earth: Swami Lee Marvin.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment