Friday, March 18, 2011

Fragment #13: 1967 - Cliff Richard versus Paul Jones

James F. Collier's 1967 film Two a Penny stars Cliff Richard as Jamie, a troubled soul whose experience of his increasingly 'dangerous' world causes him to question the meaning of his own existence. Steven Shorter, the character played by Paul Jones in Privilege, directed by Peter Watkins and released the same year, is another troubled soul living in an equally 'dangerous' but very different world and is someone else finally forced to question the meaning of his own existence. In terms of intellectual intention and directorial desire, the two films are obviously worlds, poles and systems apart but a closer, more detailed viewing of each allows the case to be made for them to be viewed as deliciously inverted versions of each other - two sides of the same cinematic coin. That this may be true is in no small part due to the various ways in which both films present the performance of each crisis as it unfolds, as well as the more obvious questions that both Two a Penny and Privilege raise in relation to ideas (and fears) of organised religion, the cult of celebrity and the various forms of manipulation that inform, design and decide both of these things.