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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Counterculture > Independent > Gold (1968/MVD Visual DVD)

Gold (1968/MVD Visual DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: C



After the Summer of Love in 1967, one of the lesser-discussed aspects are the many independent films made to appeal to this new and even possibly, expectedly permanent audience of counterculture films that filmmakers made.  Bill Desloge and Bob Lewis made a film called Gold, now known under its 1972 release title Gold: Before Woodstock, Beyond Reality.  Originally shot in 1968, the film never found a U.S. distributor, so it actually opened in England and never made it to the U.S. theatrical film market until 1996!


The formula tale with plenty of surreal and non-narrative sequences pad out the tale of hippies versus authority as a local police captain (Garry Goodrow of the underrated Glen & Randa, plus Dirty Dancing, Linda Lovelace For President, Loose Shoes) is sick of the hippies running around naked, ignoring conformity and hanging at their happy commune, so he intends to ruin their lifestyle party for good.  Of course, the hippies are not going to tolerate that and the gang including Hawk (Del Close of De Palma’s The Untouchables and American Graffiti) intend to stop him.


Not exactly Smokie & The Bandit, nor should it be, this is one of those head trip films with plenty of nudity to go around in an abundance you would never see today.  It is not a great film either, but when all is said and done, an awkward and unusual time capsule of the time.  The politically minded Professor Orville Schell makes his only acting appearance and that anyone would make such a film reflects its time well.  An interesting-at-best curio, it is finally on DVD and you can see for yourself what they came up with.


The 1.33 X 1 image is not bad for a film with this history, but the color goes from being good and standard to very colorful at its best.  Detail is not bad for DVD, but could be better, though the age of the film and its low-budget beginnings are a factor.  Newer prints would be standard color, but the 1972 U.K. prints were three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor and would not only look better (if the condition held up; these prints almost always retain their color) but be valuable as all such prints are.  This was shot in 16mm, so blow-up prints were made, but this is from the 16mm and has been cleaned up nicely.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also fine for a low budget film of its age, sounding as good as can be expected for such lossy sound.  The MC5 (Motor City 5) were among those who cut music specifically for the film.


Extras include trailers, retro lobby cards, an hour-long vintage NYC cable interview with co-director Lewis, feature length commentary by Lewis and Goodrow and special commentary by Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts from the Upright Citizens Brigade.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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