McGoohan All Night Long Blu-ray

Sunday, 14 August 2016 23:00 Written by 

Patrick McGoohan in All Night Long on Blu-rayAs we approach the 50th anniversary of The Prisoner next year, it is not surprising that there will be a rising interest in all things ‘Patrick McGoohan’. And so it is that we see a fully restored Blu-ray release of “All Night Long” from Network, which is Shakespeare’s “Othello” set against an internal backdrop of an East London jazz jamboree.  Its subject matter is as timeless as you would expect with work based on the Bard, with one little bit of vintage technology making this very much a period piece.

From 1962, and presented in a brand-new High Definition transfer from original film elements in its as-exhibited aspect ratio, McGoohan is drummer Johnny Cousin, with the actor revealing another talent not widely mentioned on his CV. It’s terrific to see him genuinely playing with gusto amongst a parade of topline jazz stars of the time. That said, in one instance when McGoohan's character is playing a drum solo, the kit is different in the medium shots and Point-Of-View shots.

And so, to the plot. Wealthy music promoter Rod Hamilton (Richard Attenborough – who introduces the trailer, one of the extras) throws a first anniversary party for famous jazzman Aurelius Rex (Paul Harris) and his wife and musical partner Delia (Marti Stevens – whose singing was dubbed by Cleo Laine). Keith Michell (The Six Wives of Henry VIII) features as buddy Cass Michaels, and music and goodwill flow freely until ambitious rival Johnny Cousin hatches a plan. He is intent on poaching Delia to join his own band, and plans to destroy the couple's relationship over the course of the single night that is the focus of the movie.

All of this is hinged on the use of some cut-and-splice editing of audio tape (hope that’s not too much of a spoiler), and this is the one element of technology which really betrays the age of the production.

Basil Dearden directs the action, and he worked with McGoohan again in 1962 on “Life for Ruth”. He went on later in the 1960s to action pictures, including “Masquerade” (1965), “Khartoum” (1966), and “The Assassination Bureau” (1969) as well as “The Man Who Haunted Himself” (1970) starring Roger Moore. He himself was killed in a road accident on the M4 near Brentford, his last work being three episodes of The Persuaders! – the pilot “Overture” as well as “Powerswitch” and “To the Death, Baby”.

“All Night Long” features cameos and performances from jazz legends Dave Brubeck, Johnny Dankworth, Charlie Mingus, Tubby Hayes, Johnny Scott, Bert Courtley, Keith Christie, Ray Dempsey, Allan Ganley, Barry Morgan, Kenny Napper and Colin Purbrook.   There’s no doubt that these appearances will have been welcomed with raptures by the relevant fan base of the time.

Cleo Laine is even mentioned in passing, but this was perhaps one cameo too far, or seen as too much of a reach for a singer to act in such a pivotal role? Real life husband Johnny Dankworth even says “So sorry Cleo couldn’t make it”.

If you look closely, in the background you’ll also see, uncredited. the likes of Graydon Gould (Supercar), Carol White (“Poor Cow”) and Geoffrey Holder (“Live and Let Die”) in his film debut.

There was a soundtrack LP put out by Fontana (TFL 5179), with several themes written by Philip Green, but also including “Sapphire” (Sonny Miller), “Scott Free” (Johnny Scott), “It’s a Raggy Waltz” and “Blue Shadows in the Street” (Johnny Dankworth), “Fall Guy” (Johnny Dankworth), and “The Chase” (Tubby Hayes). Not Now Music put out a new vinyl version of the release in February 2016, and a CD version came forth in 2013 from Filmaphone.

For fans of The Prisoner, there are a couple of moments which resonate with the TV series which would come along five years later. There is a very Prisoner-esque thunderclap to listen out for, and even the riff “Pop Goes the Weasel”, something that was part of the soundtrack for the adventures of Number 6, even makes an appearance. To top it all, McGoohan’s character utters the phrase “Be seeing you” in a style very much a rehearsal for what was to come along later.

For its production year of 1962, there are a couple of topics covered which no doubt caused a few gasps in picture houses. One aspect of this is that characters are clearly seen smoking joints, while there are also two mixed-race couples in the scenario. Nothing is made of these in the dialogue, and are accepted as a normal part of this ‘scene’.

All in all, “All Night Long” comes across as part drama, part musical variety show, and is definitely something unusual in its execution. So many real people appearing as themselves, in a cultured environment which exudes energy, despite (or maybe because of) its fairly claustrophobic setting of a large warehouse apartment. An oddity, perhaps, but a ‘must see’ all the same.

Special features with this release include:

  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Image gallery
  • Booklet by Professor Neil Sinyard

‘The British Film’ collection was launched by Network Distributing in April 2013 as part of a five-year plan to release over 450 vintage British films through a deal with Studiocanal, one of Europe’s leading distribution and production companies. Many of the films have never been available to own and will benefit from new transfers, affirming Network Distributing's commitment to classic British cinema.

“All Night Long” is out now from Network Releasing. It has a running time of 90 minutes approx, a ‘15’ certificate, and on Blu-ray with a RRP of £14.99, the DVD with a RRP £9.99, or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com

 

 

Last modified on Sunday, 21 August 2016 15:27

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