DVD Review: Goodbye Gemini (1970)
If you mention Goodbye Gemini, chances are the person you are talking to has never heard of it. Or if they have, they've only heard the (rather cool) soundtrack, recently reissued by Harkit. Perhaps that's because the movie itself hasn't been available to buy in the UK - until now.
Yes, out as a special edition DVD in the UK via Odeon, this rather unusual swinging London-style chiller is ripe for reappraisal, even if the end product doesn't quite live up to the early part of the movie.
Once she's gone, the pair and their teddy bear head to the local pub, where they meet the local in-crowd, headed up by wheeler dealer Clive (Alexis Kanner). He befriends them with the intention of befriending Jacki a whole lot more. But protective Julian stands in the way. To clear his path, Clive takes Julian 'on the town' and when he's in a state of near unconsciousness, pimps him out to a couple of transvestites - keeping the photos as an insurance policy. Nice.
Clive's rainy day comes sooner than he thinks when a gambling debt from local villain Rod Barstowe (Mike Pratt) needs paying. He needs £400 and wants it off the twins in return for the snaps. The twins decide to 'play a game' with Clive over the debt - which ends in tragedy for him and confusion for Jacki. She can't remember what has happened and she can't find Julian. Where is he and what will become of them?
As I hinted earlier in the review, the film's premise is as good as any, not surprising when you realise the film is an adaptation of a book (Ask Agamemnon by Jenni Hall) and up until the halfway point, it's one of the more original swinging London flicks you're likely to encounter. Weird, creepy, cool and genuinely intriguing. Strange twins who can't decide if they're family or lovers, a creepy bear, a pimp with bizarre sideburns (and an even more bizarre accent), swinging London, a tasty soundtrack, the presence of Judy Geeson - what's not to like? Well, nothing - it just can't keep up the pace.
Once Clive gets on the receiving end of something sharp, the movie just loses its way. The twins become confused wrecks (we don't see Julian until the final scene), the police are inept at sorting things out, Jacki has a blackout (but remembers enough in the end to tie up the loose ends) and the whole things ends in a depressing couple of minutes that leave more questions than answers. It's as if they didn't know how to end it - or just ran out of cash.
Which is really frustrating as the first half the Goodbye Gemini is so damn good. If only the middle section had been extended, the ending thought through a bit more and the twins' characters taken to more of an extreme, Goodbye Gemini just might have been one of my favourite flicks of the 60s. As it is, the movie is interesting, entertaining and of course, certain to appeal to anyone who loves the whole 'swinging London' thing. A flawed gem in other words, but one that's certain to find a substantial market amongst lovers of the genre.
A few tasty extras are also thrown in on the new DVD release, including a commentary from Judy Geeson and producer Peter Snell, a still gallery, theatrical trailer and some 'on set' footage originally produced (but never used) by ITV's World In Action. All of it interesting stuff and making the proposition of the DVD more appealing.
Find out more about the DVD at the Amazon website