Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

More forgotten '60s/'70s British films: Bumbo & more

Well, THE BREAKING OF BUMBO has been re-discovered and is out in a new dvd release. Most people though will not have heard of it - they didn't get a chance to see it back in 1970 (though it was featured in all the film magazines) and it never showed up anywhere since. I got a copy last year though, and it is now available again. Can't see why they bothered though, its rather dreary and dull by any standards, but certainly a fascinating time capsule of that 1969-70 era of protest and demonstrations. It was a novel which I remember, by Andrew Sinclar - who also got to direct the movie, so it is his vision up there. Let's see what the blurb says:

Bumbo Bailey, a newly commissioned Ensign of the Household Brigade, becomes quickly bored with the social life this entails (there is lots of playing rugby in the mud). This boredome is rudely shattered when he falls in with the luscious Susie and her friend Jock, bourgeois revolutionaries whose principal occupation is organising anti-war demonstrations. Sensing Bumbo's general dissatisfaction with everything they manipulate him into a course of action which could have dire consequences for his future.
Richard Warwick and Joanna Lumley star in this sexy, exuberant social satire charting the travails of an angry young man reacting against his environment. Adapting his bestselling novel Andrew Sinclair draws on his own youthful experiences - THE BREAKING OF BUMBO is a time-capsule of Swinging Sixties London. Denied a theatrical release by EMI the film is finally available.

Joanna Lumley - now of course a National Treasure - but here with Very Big Hair must wince now at seeing herself as the posh hippie princess/revolutionary with her furs and chiffon dresses. Richard Warwick (he was one of the IF... boys for Lindsay Anderson in '68, along with Malcolm McDowell) is Bumbo. I knew Richard slightly in the '80s when we used to hang out at the same pub in Earls Court (he usually had his bicycle with him) - he died in 1997, aged 52. He also played in Zeffirelli's 1968 ROMEO & JULIET and his 1990 HAMLET, and Zeffirelli's JANE EYRE in '96; as well as a BBC production THE LOST LANGUAGE OF CRANES (which I have been meaning to review), and in Derek Jarman's TEMPEST and SEBASTIANE, among others. He was one of those new British actors (like Ian Charleson) who did not survive the Aids crisis.
BUMBO is all rather a tourist image of swinging London as it poked fun at the British Army Guards Regiments and rather improbably had Bumbo trying to convert the soldiers under his command to passivism and get them to lay down their arms while on parade. It does not come to a satisfactory ending but just stops. Among the cast are Edward Fox, Donald Pickering and John Bird.
Just one quibble: they say this dvd is the full complete version - it isn't as that marvellous 1993 BBC series HOLLYWOOD UK (see my full report at British or London labels) includes this scene (not on the dvd), showing the leads nude in that groovy '70s apartment.
When I began this blog back in 2010 there were a lot of British '60s movies I had not seen, but we have managed to catch up with and comment on most of them: WEST 11, TWO LEFT FEET, I WAS HAPPY HERE, GIRL WITH GREEN EYES, A PLACE TO GO, THE LEATHER BOYS, THE PLEASURE GIRLS, THE WORLD TEN TIMES OVER etc - as per British/London labels. TWO LEFT FEET is delicious fun too with a gormless (very) young Michael Crawford. And I like this recent 2001 one: LAST ORDERS with that marvellous ensemble: David Hemmings in one of his last roles, Tom Courtenay, Helen Mirren, Bob Hoskins, Michael Caine and Ray Winstone ! I must finally see Courtenay and Finney in THE DRESSER too, from '83 ...

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