Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Goodbye Gemini (1970)

... aka: Ask Agamemnon
... aka: Extraños gemelos (Strange Twins)
... aka: Mon frère... mon assassin (My Brother... My Killer)
... aka: Twinsanity

Directed by:
Alan Gibson

Blonde-haired, blue-eyed twins Jacki (Judy Geeson) and Julian (Martin Potter) have more than just clean-cut good looks in common. They're both also extremely immature, childish, naive, spoiled and really need to grow up. They're also so clingy, affectionate and dependent on one another they turn suspicious eyes wherever they go because everyone assumes they're lovers. When we first meet the duo, they're on their way to London via bus to take up residence in a posh new flat. We're never given insight into how they got their money, where they come from, what kind of upbringing they had or how their life was before this London trip, but we can assume something wasn't quite right. After all, one of the first things they do upon arrival is trip their grumpy landlady down a long flight of stairs with a strategically-placed teddy bear! Of the two twins, it's Jacki who seems to want to live a normal life. However, they soon discover "normal" is anything but when they begin hobnobbing with some rather unsavory types.

Unemployed bisexual hustler Clive (Alexis Kanner) becomes their first acquaintance after he actively seeks them out at a club and, along with his more level-headed female friend Denise (Marian Diamond), the quartet begin indulging in drink, drugs, parties and sex. But the fun times don't last. For starters, Julian can't seem to move past his unhealthy obsession with his sister. In fact, his unrequited sexual desires for her are driving him a bit mad and he can't help but to paw at her, kiss her and spy on her changing clothes. He also becomes extremely jealous when other men show any interest in his sibling. Clive's been showing interest but he has bigger fish to fry: He's gambled away all his money and is indebted to a violent goon (Mike Pratt). In order to get some quick cash he decides to ply his new pal with booze and drugs and then lure him to a hotel room where he takes photos of him having sex with a pair of drag queens (!!) Blackmail, murder and a police investigation follow.

This is an unsuccessful and pointless but sometimes interesting little film that's more entertaining as a time capsule look at Swingin' London than it is a drama or a thriller. Some part of me seriously doubts sexual mores were so loose even in the underground during the early 70s (observers of the brother's incestuous behavior behave like it's no big deal and every guy seems to be into what one character hilariously refers to as "the queer boy circus"), but it's a unique angle to take nonetheless. Unfortunately, the director drops the ball after the first half of hedonistic weirdness when he settles for a routine 'killer on the lam' story line, resulting in a film that is neither compelling as a drama nor thrilling as a thriller. As a huge genre fan I think it says a lot about the potency of the 'thrilling' scenes that I found myself more entertained watching a transvestite do a strip routine at a bar than I was whether "whoever did it" will get away with murder or not.

Director Gibson isn't very well-regarded in horror circles and movies like this and his two Hammer Dracula films (which are arguably the two worst in the entire series) show why. His direction here is flavorless, completely devoid of an individual signature style and he shows no attention whatsoever to visuals or detail. I guess if he does anything right it's getting solid work from his lead actors, which actually is a pretty big accomplishment considering the script they had to work with. The known names in the supporting cast - like Michael Redgrave and Freddie Jones - are given nothing of interest to do. This is still somewhat notable for containing the first score by Christopher Gunning, who'd go on to win multiple BAFTA Awards, and also has a pretty good theme song in "Tell the World We're Not In" by The Peddlers.

Shot under the title Ask Agamemnon (also the title of the novel by Jenni Hall it was [loosely] based upon), this was released theatrically by Cinerama Releasing both in the UK and the US in 1970. It received a VHS release here in America in 1988 on the Prism label under the title Twinsanity, which boasted some rather misleading cover art. In 2010, Scorpion Releasing put out a DVD, which contains a commentary track from producer Peter Snell and Geeson.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...