Lost Counterculture Film Featuring Anti-Comedy Guru Del Close and Rare MC5 Material to Be Released
Wild Eye Releasing and MVD Visual are pleased to announce the release of "GOLD: Before Woodstock. Beyond Reality." for North American distribution on July 27. Considered a 'lost' film for 40 years, GOLD has been found again... This is its first time ever on any form of home video.
What is this Gold we speak of, you're probably asking yourself? Well, in a nutshell: it's a lost psychedelic western by, about, and for the counterculture shot in 1968 and soundtracked by the MC5 in 1972.
Oh, and it features DEL CLOSE as a Jesus figure. You all love Del Close, even those of you (unlucky sods) who have never heard of him. Let's put it this way: every single bizarre thing on SNL since its inception, from Belushi's Deli Samurai to Lonely Island's Lazer Cats is pretty much inspired by Del Close's anti-comedy (much of the early SNL cast had been directly trained by eccentric guru Close in Chicago). Start exploring here.
Wanna know more about the film before you pre-order it?:
Here's a good outline from Shock Cinema (via MC5 Gateway):
It's always refreshing to stumble across an obscure, bizarre and baffling relic from the groovy late-60s, when coherence was at a minimum and radical ideas were happily embraced by open-minded viewers. This begins with an opening-credit montage that includes police brutality, dead Vietnamese children, JFK's assassination, Kent State, etc. - so I was expecting a heavy message flick. But instead, it offered up a hippie-hodgepodge of political metaphor, barely-baked philosophy, sing-a-longs, bizarre camerawork, tinted stock, solarization, split screen, and gratuitous sex scenes that makes you wonder if the cameraman was on peyote. In other words, "Yow!" In addition, this no-budget odyssey stars improvisational comedy legend Del Close, along with fellow member of San Francisco's The Committee, Gary Goodrow.
Its baffling story is set in an anachronistic Old West town (which contains electric guitars and miniskirts), with all of the townsfolk in search of precious gold! Along the way, they're attacked by modern-day soldiers and seduced by right-wing conspirators (led by a stick-in-the-mud referred to as "The Law," played by Goodrow). There's also a rigged election, trampled personal rights, evicted citizens, and "The Law" getting pissed whenever he spots nude flower children cavorting in the woods. No surprise, these elected-assholes feast on their power, by murdering anyone who represents freedom (or runs around in the nude) and by keeping all 'lawbreakers' in an animal pen.
Let's not forget a wild-eyed rebel (Del) who roams the countryside and is the only voice of reason. Oh, look, he's hauling a big-ass cross! Could it be any more obvious?! Eventually he teaches the jailed common folk Revolution 101 (including Molotov cocktails and guerrilla tactics), so they can rise up against their lowly oppressor, bulldoze their prison, fire off scrap-metal cannons, and to celebrate, everyone gets naked! Yep, there's always some excuse to strip off your clothes for an orgy or skinny dip.
The film was shot in 1968, in Northern California, but wasn't released theatrically (in London) until 1972, and didn't premiere in America until 1996(!), with director/producers Bob Levis and Bill Desloge credited as "organizers." Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that most of the script was improvised on the spot. Since Close and Goodrow were both experts at double-talk, they're pretty amusing when left to their unique talents. Optical FX consultant Zoran Peristic later graduated to films like SUPERMAN and RETURN OF OZ, and there are evocative music contributions from Rambling Jack Elliot and Motor City 5. Full of good intentions and crude as hell, this is an indulgent, energetic, 90-minute burst of hoary symbolism and lovable counterculture craziness. No question, it looks like everyone had a blast filming it, and with the proper 'medication,' most viewers will too.