Goodbye Gemini (1970 1 hr 29 mins)
This evening I was bored. My boyfriend just kept showing me reruns, I didn’t feel like reading, and I definitely didn’t feel like cleaning my apartment. So I decided to browse Google Play, where I’ve had luck before. When this movie came up, I felt it was only natural that I check it out. Natural because I am after all, a Gemini. This movie however, is crazier than I could ever hope to be, and that ain’t natural! I debated which category to place it in, and Just Plain Weird won out over Vintage Horror for obvious reasons as you, dear reader, will discover…
The story is about Jacki and Julian, played by Judy Geeson (of To Sir With Love fame) and Martin Potter respectively, a set of twenty-something twins who move to London at the height of the groovy party scene. They are joined at the hip, and Jacki feels because she is older by minutes, she must take care of her brother Julian. We quickly learn that their Marks and Spencer freshly scrubbed looks deceive all around them. They arrive at one of their wealthy father’s homes, meet the housekeeper, Mrs. McLaren, decide that she is no fun and should be disposed of. Rigging the grand staircase with a deftly laid teddy bear named, um, Agamemnon, and breaking poor Mrs. McLaren’s glasses that leaves her blind as a bat, creates an “accidental” tumble that quickly removes her from the scene.
With that obstacle gone, the kids have the free rein to do what they please.This means hitting the pubs, and one in particular changes their future forever. As they watch a drag queen striptease, they meet Clive and Denise. Clive is a slimy, slick mutton-chop wearing dude who wants Jacki. His companion, the sheepish Denise, falls for Julian. The group solidifies after possibly the best house boat party I have ever seen. Actually, that house party had the best extras ever!! Turbans, Afros, fringed vests, dancing and drinks, drinks, drinks!!
At this party, the plot thickens. It’s revealed that Clive owes a local gangster, Rod, 400 quid, and he intends to get it back. Like, yesterday. And one of the party guests, James (played by Sir Michael Redgrave- a member of the prestigious Redgrave acting dynasty…huh?! In THIS movie?!) is an up and coming politician that seems strangely fascinated by the twins and their closeness. As he observes in one scene, “They carry their own universe with them”. Yes, the nutso universe. Nutso, because we see how inappropriately Julian acts towards his sister. His thrusting hips on the dance floor make most of the guests think the siblings are a couple. He has a not-so-normal love for his sister, and he can barely contain himself. Clive the slimy dude, feels he has the upper hand over the twins. When he realizes the Denise is not going to seduce Julian away from his sister, Clive takes Julian on a drug fueled quest to find some “action”. And action he will get.
Room 104 at the Woodlands Hotel is where Julian gets his action. With two drag queens. Which he realizes after his pants are down and the “gals” are all over him. Call me sheltered, but this is the first drag queen rape scene I have ever encountered. It was disturbing and weird. Big blurry drag queen faces with puckered lips and menacing grimaces, punctuated with creepy banging piano chords. And mad pimp Clive gets pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Duped Julian never recovers from this violation and the nutso universe expands…
After the terrible encounter, Julian becomes more of a jerk to everyone around him, especially Denise. She tries to warn the Jacki that Clive is not a good guy, and she is brushed off and insulted. Rod the gangster appears and still wants his money, so Clive tries to extort the money from Julian with the pictures of the night at room 104. Still with me? It gets weirder. The twins plan to scare Clive into submission but end up killing him in a bizarre “guess which sheet-covered maniac is which!” game. The crazy kids split up after they realize what they’ve done. Julian disappears and James the politician gets involved when he decides to help Jacki hide out from the cops. She is traumatized and hardly remembers the crime. Even Agamemnon, the teddy bear, gets slashed, and Jacki reacts to his” death” more than anything else. He was the one they looked to for approval for some weird reason. They would ask his permission to party and wait patiently as the teddy stared vacantly at them . Just ask Agamemnon. What would Aggie do? Not run around town barefoot looking for his bro, that’s for sure. Anyway, closure comes to the twins in room 104. Jacki remembers the Woodlands Hotel and heads over only to find a wild-eyed, desperate Julian, and he’s not gonna share her with anyone! I lied, the teddy bear didn’t do it. Julian does.
I loved that there were openly gay characters and drag queens running amok in this movie. I think they were trying to make a point with taboo subjects of the time, but the gay party host, Garfield played by Terry Scully, was one of the best characters with great one liners, and Mike Pratt slayed as the gangster. He kept calling Clive “Poxy Chops” and was the perfect combo of craggy and smooth. Mike was also in Repulsion as the workman who jeers at Catherine Deneuve.
There were lots of confusing moments too ( no kidding!). I could swear James was gay, but he ends up sharing his bed with Jacki. And she was all naked-like. And the teddy bear. Whaaat?!! When Jacki wanders the streets looking for Julian, she goes to a cafe for something to eat and is spooked by a display of teddy bears just like Agamemnon. In kaleidoscope vision, no less. Maybe because Teddy knew the truth. I come away from this movie with a hung over psyche and wanting to throw a bad-ass 70’s house boat party. Now I just gotta find a job…and a houseboat…and Clive’s white faux fur duster coat…and lots of dough…
Most Memorable Line: there were a few. When Garfield tells Clive he doesn’t have an allegiance to anyone: “Not you Ducky. You don’t have a family. You’re just ectoplasm…with appetites.”
An aging guest at the best houseboat party ever, David, laments, “I took my harp to the party but nobody asked me to play.”
Jacki exclaims after a night of drinking, ” Oh Christ! Even the water tastes like whisky!”
The theme song, sung by the Peddlers. It’s called “Tell The World We’re Not In”. “When the people come knocking, tell the world we’re not in!” Preach! This will be my mantra when I finally go all Howard Hughes…minus the peeing in jugs and having millions.
Favorite Scene: Hands down, the drag queen striptease. That gal shook and kicked on a bar top, while a googly-eyed grandma ogles her from below. So, so weird.
Clive and Jacki-nice chops man! What would Aggie do?