Revolution (the documentary film, 1968)

[Directed by Jack O'Connell]


This film did not fare well in its opening debut. Shot in the midst of 1967's Summer of Love in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, it is almost cinema verite except for the sappy interviews that the director inserted into the everyday hustle and bustle taking place at the height of this extraordinary moment. But by the time the film was released, a year later in the summer of 1968, the whole world — and the counterculture especially — had changed completely. Read the review from the East Village Other (below) to get a sense of the dismissive attitude that many had watching a film about Love. This film is about 1967, and the title Revolution was about a Love Revolution. The year the film was released, 1968, hate had come to the forefront with the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy (and their aftermath). Love was still around but hiding in the background.

Nevertheless, this film is valuable for anyone interested in that period. O'Connell and his crew captured some moments that will live on in his documentary. Put aside some of the bizarre dialogue and focus on the imagery. Here you will see the first Summer Solstice celebration that took place in the counterculture. Here you will see footage of Morning Star Ranch (the "Digger Farm") and its founder, Lou Gottlieb, as he describes his vision of open land. Watch Ronnie Davis, founder of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, as he plays the role of the Pied Piper of revolutionary youth. Hear one of the Ballard brothers as he raps about the Diggers and the Black People's Free Store. Listen to the music of Country Joe & the Fish, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Steve Miller Band, and Mother Earth. Experience acid rock lightshows by Headlights (Jerry Abrams and Glenn McKay). Stroll down Haight Street when the youth of America (and the world) were waking up to late twentieth-century global realities and — as a generation — saying "not for me nor mine."

[—ed. 2021-12-30]


Film poster. Click thumbnail for larger version.

Revolution, 1968

Directed by Jack O'Connell. Running time: 1 hr 27 min

Featuring: Today Malone, Herb Caen, Ronnie Davis, Lou Gottlieb et al. Music by Country Joe & the Fish, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Steve Miller Band, Mother Earth. Dance by Ann Halprin Dancer's Workshop. Lightshows by Headlights (Jerry Abrams, Glenn McKay). Director of Photography: Bill Godsey. Production Manager: Joel Block. A production of the Robert J. Leder Co. in association with Omicron Films. Produced & Directed by Jack O'Connell. Contributing filmmakers: Tom DeWitt, Loren Sears, Steve Ashton, Jerry Abrams, Alan Clark, Richard Watt, Kelly Hart, Myron Ort, John Schofill, Gary Pickering.



From East Village Other, August 16, 1968, pg. 6



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