HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Beats
Body Parts
   
 
Newest Articles
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
   
 
  Privilege Follow The LeaderBuy this film here.
Year: 1967
Director: Peter Watkins
Stars: Paul Jones, Jean Shrimpton, Mark London, William Job, Max Bacon, Jeremy Child, James Cossins, Frederick Danner, Victor Henry, Arthur Pentelow, Steve Kirby, Malcolm Rogers, Doreen Mantle, Michael Graham, Michael Barrington, Edwin Finn, John Gill
Genre: Musical, Science Fiction
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Britain in the near future, and the biggest star around is Steven Shorter (Paul Jones) a rock star who appeals to the rebellious side of youth. His act is based on his experiences when he was arrested and take the form of Shorter handcuffed and placed in a cage, where he is circled by men dressed as prison officers wielding batons. When he is let out, singing his number, he turns violent and attacks the officers who then retaliate as the crowd goes wild. But just how representative of rebellion is he? After all, he is backed by a coterie of advisors and managers who orchestrate his every move, and they have a new idea for their charge: rebellion is out and conformity is well and truly in.

Now almost forgotten, producer-director Peter Watkins' Privilege stirred up quite a measure of controversy in its day mainly due to its depiction of religion, or rather, religion's representatives. It employs the conventions of a documentary, if you will a rockumentary, and was in fact a fine example of the mockumentary although you shouldn't expect This Is Spinal Tap levels of hilarity. That's not to say there isn't humour in it, but at times the film appears to be something the Monty Python team might have dreamed up about five years later with its polite, matter of fact voiceover and non stop ribbing of the establishment. All it needs is a little more surrealism.

Watkins had already put noses out of joint with his television production about unwinnable nuclear conflict, The War Game, so his political savvy had evidently not left him when he began work on this. It was drawn from a story by Till Death Us Do Part creator Johnny Speight and scripted by Norman Bogner, yet at heart is simply another rock and roll story with its protagonist burned out, crumpled up and thrown away by this business we call show. As portrayed by Jones, he's a real miseryguts who numbingly goes through the motions expected of him until he meets another miseryguts in the shape of artist Vanessa (popular and appropriately trendsetting model of her day Jean Shrimpton) who has been employed to paint his picture but raises his consciousness instead.

The point is that Shorter, and by extension pop culture, is used by the authorities to keep the masses acquiescent and unquestioning. In this time, both major political parties have joined together after deciding they have too much in common, including their religion. Shorter is used as a figurehead to sell Christianity to the hoi polloi, exactly as he has sold them dog food and apples, and the story leads up to a mass rally of thousands with the star performing an inspirational song; not for nothing does it all resemble a fascist occasion. Indeed, Shorter's backing band show up for his big Christian number sporting black shirts, Union Flag armbands and demonstrating the Nazi salute in one example of how heavyhanded Watkins' send-ups could be here.

There was a mood of Privilege being a spoof created by someone with no sense of humour, and throughout in spite of the pastiche on display there was also that message making that told us this was too serious to be laughed at, at least not with much enthusiasm. By the time Shorter really starts to rebel, it is too late and any convictions he has are futile. Ex-Manfred Mann singer Jones is OK in the role, decent enough at looking deeply discomfited and uncomfortable when he's not singing to the worshipful throngs, but you get the impression what Watkins was actually after was a Mick Jagger, and the lead's devastating charisma you have to take as read. The whole cynical experience comes across as if this is your future and there's nothing you can do about it, which doesn't make for the most inspiring of films, but Watkins' technique is exemplary, some would say genuinely prophetic in its predictions of how politics and religion were reduced (assuredly not elevated) to showbusiness. Music by Mike Leander, including Jones's hit single I've Been a Bad Bad Boy, a suitably penitent tune for a self-flagellating (literally) celebrity.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2137 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Peter Watkins  (1935 - )

Critical, socially-conscious British filmmaker whose short films like Diary of an Unknown Soldier led to work at the BBC, making Culloden and The War Game, the latter proving so controversial that it was banned. He turned to cinema features with Privilege and Punishment Park, then went to Scandinavia to create incredibly long dramatic documentaries such as Edvard Munch.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: