Gonzo Multimedia [Release date 30.06.17]
Ah, those heady early 1970s. Flower power, the permissive society, long hair and … dangly bits. There are a lot of them on show in this fascinating social snapshot.
Heady times indeed. “Extremes” was a film produced by two guys Tony Klinger and Michael Lytton who worked on ITC productions in the 1960s (Klinger was Assistant Director on The Avengers) and seemingly used that connection to “borrow” some of the firm’s film equipment. They documented the counter culture in 1970 with segments on Hell’s Angels, drug use and nudity including the Isle of Wight Festival.
The musical backdrop was an excellent soundtrack provided by bands such as “Arc” and “Crucible”, but more interestingly a formative Supertramp. The interesting liner note underlines that – due to lack of finance – the two entrepreneurs missed out on gaining half the rights to what would become “Crime Of The Century”.
This leaves three tracks from Supertramp (all available on their debut album) but perhaps more impressive is Arc, it made me want to go and investigate their one and only album which similarly includes the four tracks featured here.
In Arc’s ranks were Micky Gallagher and John Turnbull who would emerge a few years later in Ian Dury’s band. There is a link because Arc’s music was both rocky in a prog sort of way, and gutsy.
The soundtrack also features singer songwriter Mark McCann and Crucible, a pseudonym for the band “The White Plains” who had several Top 20 hits including their most successful ‘My Baby Loves Lovin’ in 1969.
The DVD is expanded with Tony Klinger underlining the anarchic times documented in the film in both a lengthy interview and via director commentary. He went on to produce films for Deep Purple and The Who. His comments about the film highlight the organic and unscripted nature of the filming and also the difficulty in financing such a venture.
In 1971 it had won the London Film Festival “outstanding film of the year” award. ‘Extremes’ has previously been available on VHS and the soundtrack was originally released in 1972 on the Deram label. This is the first release on CD and DVD.
At times – notably the drug sequences – it makes for uncomfortable viewing and was controversial when released. It tells the story of a generation seeking new forms of expression and freedom, and in their own words.
As a social document the film provides fascinating insight and whilst some of the visuals may seem from another planet, some of the themes – such as drug use and youthful rebellion – are still relevant. ****
Review by David Randall
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