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3.5 out of 5 stars
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3.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 30 April 2013
Interesting historical document of a London passed, maybe some of it could be described as gratuitous and at no point could it be considered politically correct. The seamier side of London is spot lighted he general area of Soho.
The Picture quality is very good on the Blu Ray the BFI extracting the best they can from the film stock, the sound quality is pretty good but obviously not up to the standards of Modern Movie making. I suspect of you are reading the review you will be interested in the film and all I can say is I enjoyed it.
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This kind of shock-doc was a bit of a staple of early 60s cinema, the opportunity to show the odd nipple or two getting by under the pretence that these movies were educational rather than merely prurient. So under the unconvincing pretext that we are looking at how the utamed beast that is man still lurks under the veneer of civilisation, we have a series of bizarrely random featurettes that are purport to show how the caveman is still extant on the streets of contemporary London. A baby is born in queasy detail. Strippers. Mods buying clothes. More strippers. Two women get their hair styled. A city gent being fitted for a bowler hat. A fashion parade of 'Topless Swimsuits' Rockers at the Ace Cafe. Beatniks listening to a blues combo. a pop group at a club. A series of completely incomprehensible comedy inserts set at a radio station featuring a young Barry Cryer. And so on. It's all pretty interesting, more because of the period detail than the subject matter, this vision of a knackered postwar society determinedly dragging itself into consumer capitalism.

Great old-school 'Balham-Gateway to The South' stylee voiceover, a great booklet featuring an essay by Iain Sinclair, and some nice extras on the DVD. Music fans might be tempted by the fact that 60s composer and electronic music pioneer Basil Kirchin does the soundtrack.
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on 24 June 2014
Images of London life as it was in the 1960's.
Nothing of a 'sexy' nature. To give some idea the material used in this compilation includes witness to a difficult birth and a man having as some thick skin on the ball of his foot cut and peeled back so the corn could be lifted!
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on 1 September 2015
I think this was one of the sickest things i have ever seen - i am talking about the main film by Arnold L. Miller. Not the nudity or sexual inuendo, that is all mild but the cross editing with the body fluids and blood of a baby birth, back to sexual body images of women. This really is sewer stuff which manages to reduce what should be something beautiful, the birth of human life, with sordid references. Was Mr Miller sick in the head?

However, in an extraordinary juxtaposition from the BFI, the added "B" features are very good. One short film called the Chelsea Boys an authentic and pure documentary about 1960s bikers with great filming around London and another short film called Pub which really captures the reality of how pubs used to be, no fake editing or pretend sound tracks. Excellent atmospheric footage of the era beyond all the hype of swinging London and all that over-used rubbish.

What the hell are these two gems doing on this appalling, nasty fronted feature DVD? Did the DVD compiler at BFI have an epileptic fit when he combined these films on this DVD?
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Though it probably attracts more attention masquerading as a soft porn film, "Primitive London" is a bizarre snapshot of the London of 1965, constructed of a series of practically unrelated scenes, some of them 'straight' documentary style (meeting Mods, Rockers and beatniks) along with staged reconstructions (a wife-swapping party, a radio voiceover recording). Some of the tenuous links between scenes are hilarious and inspired. Whether intentionally or not, it ends up being a great historical record of the fashions and excesses of the time.

However, though I'd recommend it to some people, it has to be pointed out how incredibly mysogynistic and hypocritical it is. The sometimes insane voiceover over the wife-swapping scenes describes it as "the death of love", yet the same filmmaker has no problem with continually returning to show yet another scene at a strip club. Even for the time the sexism is excessive- comments like "and women tend to get what they want" occur throughout. If you can tolerate this you're left with a curious alternative piece of 60s memorabilia.

Blu-Ray extras are pretty good- three totally unedited contemporary interviews, some more relevant to the main feature than others, and an additional 25-minute black and white mini-feature along the same lines but 'grittier'.
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on 6 January 2015
Was good but very loud, whatever we did could'nt turn the sound down. Quality was good.
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on 5 September 2014
very good
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on 25 December 2015
It is a shame there was so little time spent on the mods n rockers. The rest was dull yet would be of interest to anyone interested in the 60s
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