|Formats:||15 DVD, Blu-ray|
|Starring:||Doreen Mantle, Steve Kirby, Malcolm Rogers, James Cossins, Victor Henry, Arthur Pentelow, Frederick Danner, Max Bacon, Michael Graham, Jean Shrimpton, Paul Jones, Jeremy Child, William Job, Mark London, Michael Barrington|
|Run time:||1 hour 39 minutes|
|Rental release:||25 Jan 2010|
|Hearing impaired subtitles:||English|
Most helpful review
For a certain type of viewer.By LewLew (7 reviews) from Sidcup , 14 Mar 2010
[Highly rated reviewer]While watching this I realised that the Director was Peter Watkins, the same chap who made 'The War Games' and 'Punishment Park'. If you know those two, then you're aware of the style and politics of Watkins and if so, actually even if you don't agree with them, this is well worth your time nonetheless. I loved it, effectively a comment on how a 'fascist/mass consumption' system would still require a 'Pop' star to keep the masses happy and docile and buying products. Sadly it's more poignant today than in the 60's.
It is very much of its time, though that I guess is most peoples' reasons for looking at it anyway, it has a stunningly attractive Jean Shrimpton in it as well as a few other faces that may seem familiar to some. Paul Jones isn't too bad either! I guess this is just before he was in The Committee, so Paul obviously was into this sort of stuff at the time.
Many times I laughed out loud, especially the moments about keeping the masses happy though the Brits with Union Jacks rather than swastikas doesn't really have the impact it would have done then, plus the focus on religion in our decisively irreligious times falls flat.
Thus put simply, if you're not into the period, or politics, and just want to see 'a good flick', I doubt very much you'll like this. If you are however, then do give this a watch as it's a real little gem.
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Paul Jones? Jean Shrimpton? What were they thinking?By zorilla (221 reviews) from Kew, Richmond , 01 Oct 2012This film is worth seeing for 2 reasons -
1) It's one of the first films to examine pop celebrity
2) You are unlikely to ever see a film where the leads are as horribly miscast as poor old Paul Jones and lovely, lovely Jean Shrimpton.
Unique British CurioBy Tish2 (141 reviews) from London , 26 May 2012
[Highly rated reviewer]Privilege is a film that I found to be interesting but unmoving. I initially hired it because I knew the title track from a record by Patti Smith, but never realised that the original version was taken from this iconic movie, with music composed by Mike Leander.
Filmed in a mock documentary style it is the tale of errant pop star Steven Shorter (Paul Jones), who is literally a tool of the state, used by the establishment to control the population. There are also stalwarts from the small screen, including Doreen Mantle as Miss Crawford, who played Mrs Warboys in One Foot in the Grave and Arthur Pentelow, as Leo Stanley, who played Henry Wilks in Emmerdale. There are plummy accents aplenty and a particularly awful comedic portrayal of an anarchist.
Nonetheless, this is an intriguing thesis on celebrity, mass entertainment and the state, but ultimately I think (and hope) that Peter Watkins underestimates the general public in its ability to recognize when it is being hoodwinked and over estimates the power of the state and its ability to control.
Privilege was groundbreaking in the sixties, and in hindsight seems to have provided a template for the seventies classics Stardust and Tommy. It is a unique British curio and should be celebrated as such.
A worthy subject, highlighting the misuse of power.By MovieRamble (27 reviews) , 10 Feb 2012Disgusted with what he saw as interference from the government Peter Watkins resigned from the BBC over the banning of his faux documentary The War Game (1966) about the horrors of a nuclear war from being shown on TV, a ban that was to last for twenty years. Although it did have a limited cinema release, winning an Oscar in 1967 for Best Documentary Feature. Watkins quit Britain for good in 1968 but before he went he made his first feature film, a political satire set in the very near future called Privilege (1967) now released as part of the BFI Flipside series. Its the story of Steven Shorter a pop star who is manipulated into a being a state run puppet for a repressive government, who harnesses what could be describe as Beatle mania for their own ends. The state originally using Shorters stage routine, which includes a cage, handcuffs and bully boy police tactics, to direct any chance of a public revolt into an outburst of channelled aggression within controlled limits. Changing track the authorities decide to bring back the population from the brink of structured anarchy to state run Christianity organized by an all-powerful church. Thereafter Shorters stage routine changes drastically to involve a monk attired backing group doing up-tempo Onward Christian Soldier numbers and burning crosses.
As you can probably gather this is rather a strange movie, its like an Orwellian mix between Ken Russells Tommy (1975) and Pink Floyd - The Wall (1982) but not as engaging as either. The biggest problem with this film is its two main leads. Paul Jones, who had been the lead singer with the Manfred Mann band and probable best known for his blues programme on Radio Two, plays Steve Shorter while Jean Shrimpton plays his girl friend and proves why she was a very successful sixties model and not an actress. Both give very wooded performances with Jones being particularly irritating. The premise of the film, based on a story by Johnny Speight, is a worthy subject, highlighting the misuse of power and showing the manipulation of mass culture to control the population. In that respect I suppose its a cross between pink gin and Saturday night TV!
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Oh Jean.....By Petergrafton (9 reviews) from Dawlish , 12 Jan 2012Such expectations when I saw Privilege when first released, because it was directed by Peter Watkins, of War Games (made for the BBC, and then refused a showing by them) and Culloden.
Some of the fluidity of those earlier films, in camera movement and use of extras, is trapped in stilted overlong set-piece scenes.
Paul Jones and Jean Shrimpton are probably wishing they'd bought up all the copies and burned them - their acting is abysmal, but that is Watkin's fault, as director.
The premise of the film is not convincing, and Watkins labours it into the ground.
Despite a few moments of delight, I gave up on re-watching Privilege half way through.
Dated view of celebrity culture.By sandy666 (102 reviews) from Reading , 10 Sep 2011A science fiction film of it's time, where issues of celebrity in the not so distant future are explored. The film explores themes of celebrity and pop stardom by extrapolating celebrity culture from the days of the Beatles and the Stones. As such is doesn't get the 21st century ennui of celebrity culture where an episode of celebriy big brother meets with as much derision as it does with acclaim.
The film is an artifact of its time and is watchable, although predictable. Truffaut's Farenheight 451 or Kubrick's Clockwork Orange are far better and almost cover the same ground.
Not bad, but not brilliant either.