All My Loving
The tone of this documentary
of “60s pop culture, originally
aired on BBC Television in
1968, is set perfectly by the
first shot: the lyrics to the
Beatle”s “Yellow Submarine”
on screen juxtaposed
against an ominous Vaughan
Williams piece playing
underneath, then cutting to
an out-of-focus Donovan,
walking around aimlessly,
evidently unable to com-
prehend he’s being filmed.
The remainder of the film
continues as a pastiche
of seemingly unrelated
clips, giving the film an
odd sense of cohesion while
relentlessly making the viewer feel ill at ease.
Director Tony Palmer successfully keeps the viewer on edge by mixing not
only disparate images but disparate sounds as well, never fully revealing
whether he’s intending to show the importance of the era’s pop music or
to show how little it mattered compared to a society set on its ear during
the height of the Vietnam War. What we do know is that All My Loving is
a powerful and often harrowing look at society, pop music, sex, drugs, war,
violence and revolution.
The first band we see is Cream, with Jack Bruce’s mic continually falling out
of the stand during an amazing rendition of “I’m Glad,” his mic problems
adding to the movie’s unrelenting tension. Cream pops up in the film from
time to time playing the part of redeemer, with these being among the few
times the viewer is given even a partial reprieve from the film’s edge.
All My Loving contains an incredible collection of interviews ranging from a
fairly lightweight but insightful interview with Sir Paul McCartney to a more-sardonic-than-usual Frank Zappa, recalling a run-in with some U.S. Marines
during a Mothers’ show. Other highlights include an almost surreal interview
with George Harrison’s mom and Eric Burdon’s surprisingly eloquent take on
post-LSD ‘60s culture.
Typical of the film is a shot of a concentration camp prisoner having his
head shaved, fading out to a soft-focus image of an opulent chandelier, with
that then coming into focus and the camera panning down to A Clockwork
Orange author Anthony Burgess, appropriately discussing the disposable
nature of both pop music and youth culture at a society gathering.
All My Loving is hard-hitting, edgy, and at times nearly unwatchable, ending
up a remarkable movie, with its powerful imagery perfectly underlying both
the passion and pretense of the late ‘60s. –JE
PREMIER GUITAR NOVEMBER 2007 73