Gold: Before Woodstock, Beyond Reality (40th Anniversary Edition) DVD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gold: Before Woodstock, Beyond Reality (40th Anniversary Edition) DVD Review

Gold: Before Woodstock, Beyond Reality (40th Anniversary Edition) DVD Review My company has a drug testing policy so I don’t think that I have been able to fully appreciated Gold. - Mike

Gold: Before Woodstock is one of those ‘lost’ movies - it was in theatrical release in London in 1972 but the film ‘disappeared’ for years and it wasn’t shown in the US until the 90’s. This DVD marks the movie’s home video debut.

I’ve wanted to see Gold for some time simply because the film soundtrack contains the last studio recordings of the MC5. The band recorded three songs ("Gold", "Train Music" and "Inside Out") for the soundtrack during their second trip to London in early 1972. "Train Music" and "Inside Out" were only available on the impossible to find Gold soundtrack LP (Mother Records) and "Gold" finally surfaced on the MC5’s early 80’s compilation Babes in Arms. The soundtrack also includes tunes by Rambin’ Jack Elliot and David McWilliams.

GOLD is an eccentric movie; the film layers hippie flower-power political consciousness on top of a Western and mixes it up with semi-regular soft-core porn scenes. Adding to mix, the film appears to have been loosely scripted and dialogue is most likely improvisational. The improv component shouldn’t come as a surprise as the film stars The Committee theater group members Del Close and Garry Goodrow.

GOLD is sort of like the Rocky Horror Picture Show of its time – it is amusing to watch but you can’t focus on it too deeply. The story line is set in a gold-rush town where no one digs for gold but rather they run around cavorting naked. Garry Goodrow plays the gangster-dressing crooked cop Captain Jinks who wants to control the town’s morality and Del Close plays Hawk, the Che Guevara leaning radical who saves the townspeople from Goodrow.

While none of the characters are fully developed (don’t look for motive here), there are an amusing series of supporting character roles. Verbal Talkingham is Jinks’ hippie patsy and town mayor who is ultimately murdered by Jinks when he decides to rebel and go naked. Miss Gold Nugget (Caroline Parr) is in this film as eye-candy as she has a romp with Talkingham in the beginning of the film and her topless dancing provides a distraction when Talkingham and Jinks beat down mayoral rival candidate LeRoy Acorn.

The plot involves Jinks and Talkingham rigging the mayoral election. Once elected (and the rival candidate sidelined), Talkingham is murdered by Jinks for trying to rebel against him. Jinks attempts to use Talkingham’s death to impose his morality on townspeople and imprisons them in a makeshift concentration camp (which doesn’t seem to bother them or get them to put their clothes back on). Hawk and Acorn join forces, amusingly dressed as Che and Castro, to launch guerilla warfare, free the townspeople and show Jinks that he is a hippie at heart.

What made this disc for me was the bonus features. These include:

- Commentary with director Bob Levis and star Garry Goodrow

- Special commentary track from Upright Citizens Brigade founding members Matt Walsh (The Hangover, Reno 911!) and Ian Roberts (Reno 911!)

- Bob Levis 60-minute interview from NYC cable television,

- Clip from Garry Goodrow 'Tribute'

- Trailers and GOLD Lobby Cards

Both of the first two commentary track are highly amusing. With the first, Lewis and Goodrow tell behind-the-scenes stories while the movie plays (very much like Mystery Science Theater). The later commentary has Walsh and Roberts discussing their friend and colleague Del Close.