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"THE WORD AND THE IMAGE
THE FILMS OF
garde British filmmaker of
the 1960s, Peter Whitehead made
several key films documenting the
counter-cultural events of that
decade. Filmed in cinema verite
style with hand-held camera and
often without a crew, his films
continue to attract critical attention
was born in 1937 in Liverpool,
the son of a plumber. He was
one of the first post-war scholarship
boys sent to public school at
government expense. After studying
physics and crystallography at
Cambridge University he won a
scholarship to the Slade School
of Art as a painter. Instead
of painting, he chose the medium
1965 and 1969 Whitehead made
five movies, beginning with the
documentary that effectively
launched his film career : Wholly
Communion, about an historic
countercultural event in the
Royal Albert Hall on June 11
1965 where an audience of 7,000
witnessed the first meeting of
American and English Beat poets.
Among the performers were Allen
Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti,
Gregory Corso, and Adrian Mitchell.
was on the basis of this film
that Whitehead was approached
by the then manager of the Rolling
Stones, Andrew Oldham, to film
the group on tour in Dublin and
is my Darling was the
outcome. And it was the subsequent
promo films he made for the
Stones that mark the real birth
of the "music video".
himself considers The Fall to
be his most important film. This
is a two-hour documentary shot
behind the barricades, inside
Columbia University during the
1968 student rebellion, which
took place in the immediate aftermath
of the assassination of Martin
the late 1970s Whitehead gave
up film-making. He took up falconry.
He has also written several works
Forty years after the release of Wholly Communion, Whitehead still
remains a significant cultural icon.
(Note: denotation of 'colour' or 'black and white' to be supplied)
Cinema verite documentary of the first meeting of American and English Beat
poets: Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Corso, Adrian Mitchell. Albert Hall, June 11,
1965. 33 minutes.
CHARLIE IS MY DARLING (1965)
The Rolling Stones on their first tour of Ireland, 1965. 60 minutes.
BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT (1966,
An analysis of Peter Brook's anti-Vietnam war play, "U.S". With
Glenda Jackson. 60 minutes.
PINK FLOYD, LONDON 1966-7 (1967,
of Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett performing
live and in studio. 30 minutes.
LET'S ALL MAKE LOVE IN LONDON (1967, Colour)
Described as a "rock concerto for film",
this is Whitehead's take on swinging
London in the 1960s. Music by Pink
Floyd and others.
Michael Caine, David Hockney. 70 minutes.
THE FALL (1969,
The aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King, the great Pentagon
protest march, the occupation of Columbia University. 110 minutes.
With Nikki de St Phalle. Unveils the destructive, perverse and everlasting
influence of a father upon his daughter, alternately gothic and surreal.
FIRE IN THE WATER (1977,
With Natalie Delon, The Animals, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Jimi
Hendrix, David Hockney, John Lennon. A film -maker reviews his brief
movie career in
the highlands of Scotland while his girlfriend explores the countryside alone.
An alchemical allegory. 90 minutes.
In addition to this material, the Peter Whitehead collection contains
unique footage of British plays of the 1960s, with Albert Finney
in Luther, John Osborne
in Patriot For Me, Laurence Olivier in The Entertainer, as
well as Vanessa Redgrave and John Stevens in Arnold Wesker's The Kitchen.
There is also footage of Alec Guinness in performance, and the original cast
of Look Back in Anger.
is also footage of other 1960s
luminaries such as Marianne Faithfull,
Keith Richards, Gloria Steinem,
Edna O'Brien, The Small Faces,
The Animals, David Bailey, The
Beach Boys, and the man who started
Radio Caroline, Ronan O'Reilly
and Mike Oldfield.
visit Peter Whitehead's website at www.peterwhitehead.net