GOLD: Before Woodstock. Beyond Reality.
directed by Bob Levis
starring Del Close, Gary Goodrow
Wild Eye Releasing
Generally when some bit of pop culture product stays hidden for 40 years or so, it’s because of one of two reasons. Either the item is subject to some sort of big business/label/studio ill will… or it sucks. After spending 90 minutes of my life on Gold, I can definitely state why this little gem has languished largely unseen since its creation in 1968.
What little story it boasts revolves around a bunch of hippies attempting to avoid “the man,” played by Garry Goodrow, a dim-witted and repressed lawman who seems dismayed by naked people. This allows the film to linger longingly on endless shots of people disrobing, screwing, swimming, and generally running around waving ta-tas in your face. Even this cannot save this epic. Help for the hippies comes in the character of Hawk, played by legendary comic actor Del Close, who loons around on crutches having deep conversations with the lawman, until he gets him to loosen up enough to swim naked with the others.
End of plot.
In-between the naked romps, “wow man” dialogue, and flashed images of notable sixties downers such as Kent State and Vietnam, you get bad folk music and supposedly some early MC5 songs. Although to be fair, nothing really sounded like the brutal turbo punk they are known for. Instead it was more like cheesy porn music “rock” — thudding organ and excessive wah wah usage. Far out, man. The DVD features commentary from creator Bob Levis, as well as additional commentary from Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts of Upright Citizens Brigade.
Reading about this film online might lead one to believe that this is a lost classic of the hippie generation, on a par with Easy Rider or Zabriskie Point, but this muddled mess makes Easy Rider look like a masterpiece of linear thought. Even high, this movie is an exercise in bare-titted tedium, and one hopes it stays hidden for another 40 years.
Wild Eye Releasing: www.wildeyereleasing.com/gold.html