I’ve often said coincidence does not exist, but I'll save that diatribe for another time. However, a couple of days ago, and for the first time, not one but two Paul Jones 45’s -- he’s the former lead singer for the 1960’s British invasion band Manfred Mann -- wandered into Amoeba from separate collections. Both of these singles are from the same soundtrack, Privilege, a film released in 1967 starring Paul Jones, who was making his big screen acting debut. Now, two days later, I find out that for the first time ever, Privilege will be released on DVD today. Coincidence or plot? I just don't know. Well, anyway...
The film was directed by Peter Watkins, whose highly controversial anti-nuclear drama The War Game won the 1966 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature (and was soon to be banned in
In its initial release, the reviews of Privilege attacked Peter Watkins for being “hysterical” and “ranting’ or showing a “sheer lack of professionalism.” Some even suggested the film was “immoral and un-Christian” and “encouraged youth in lewd practices.” Critics eagerly trashed Paul Jones and Jean Shrimpton, both in their acting debuts (Shrimpton would never act again). Some reviews seem to both dismiss and praise simultaneously. For example, The Christian Science Monitor called Privilege “brutal and offensive” yet finished the review with “…but it is always brilliant.” The Washington Post wrote that it was “absorbing in its failure.” However, in the years since, Privilege has been re-thought as a genuinely unique film. And if not quite a masterpiece, at least it was an audacious attempt to witness the mangling of the hand that feeds. In a piece by Tom Sutpen, he writes: “Peter Watkins boldly advanced the proposition that, in the end, we exist as followers in a cult of commodity, creatures of the marketplace buying every manner of human phenomena (war, rage, dissent, revolution, love) the way we buy tube socks and teacups. But no one wanted to hear it; not from him , not from anybody. Then as now, everything has its price. The only thing you can't make a dime off of is the truth.”
Speaking of truth, there’s one more thing … I’ve never seen the entire film. I saw a portion of Privilege at a night club decades ago. Copies of the film seem to have been buried alongside Jimmy Hoffa in