Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
United Kingdom, 1967. John Heyman/Peter Watkins Production, World Film Services, Memorial Enterprises. Story by Johnny Speight, Screenplay by Norman Bogner, additional scenes and dialogue by Peter Watkins. Cinematography by Peter Suschitzky. Produced by John Heyman, Peter Watkins. Music by Mike Leander. Production Design by Bill Brodie. Costume Design by Vanessa Clarke. Film Editing by John Trumper.
Peter Watkins got endless amounts of flack for this bitter-tasting satire of mass media; it probably made no sense when it was first released but now seems quite precise and to the point. It tells the story of a popular singer whose fame is so strong that there is no way in which the government hasn’t marketed him in order to keep control over the country’s youth. Appearing in films, magazines, and on concert stages, he is also used for product promotion and manufactured until his phenomenon doesn’t in any way resemble his humanity. Jean Shrimpton co-stars as his shallow love interest. Watkins does a great job of skewering the world of controlled media, but no matter how intelligent the film is, it’s never quite entertaining enough; its message is a good one but it hits you over the head with the subtlety of an anvil.