Saturday, September 12, 2015

Movie review - "The Last Impresario" (2013) ***

I consider myself a bit of a film and theatre buff but had never heard of Michael White until this movie. It's rather odd too because he doesn't seem to have been a shy and retiring violet, and he had a remarkable career. Born to a well off family, he went into theatre in the early 60s and was fortunate to hook up with the emerging talent of the time, notably John Cleese, Yoko Ono, and Richard O'Brien. He was the original producer of Oh! Calcutta! and The Rocky Horror Show, so he should be rolling in it but he doesn't seem to have been particularly good with money - he sold his interests in the film rights to Rocky to Lou Adler, and had a gambling problem which, combined with a career down turn in the 90s, saw him wind up pretty much stint, and having to sell his collection of memorabilia. To make things worse he had a stroke so the White we see in the film can barely talk (not that it seems to have dimmed his powers of party going).

This was a surprisingly engrossing documentary - White is a complex character, loved and talented but highly flawed. There's some superb photos and home movies. We hear a lot about his charm though its not the apparent here. There are a few things I would like to have seen more of eg about his children.

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