Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Don't let it get you

Dont Let It Get You LP cover. Set behind Sir Howard is designed by Pat Hanly, check the mural project planned by Hamish Keith and Askew One around Hanly.

Don't let it get you is one of only three feature films made in New Zealand between the end of WWII and the mid 1970s. All three of those feature  films were directed and produced by Kiwi film pioneer John O'Shea. He made Broken Barrier in 1952, then Runaway in 1964, followed by this great pop musical starring Howard Morrison, in 1966.

It's a delightfully absurd and funny romp thru our pop culture of the day, with a ton of music from Eddie Lowe, Herma and Eliza Keil, Rim D Paul, Lew Pryme, to Gerry Merito and Kiri Te Kanawa, set at a pop music festival in Rotorua.

I recently scored the soundtrack LP, with the great title track from Sir Howard. Here's a track off the film by singer Lew Pryme  - watch out for the still where a large black fly has landed in Pryme's perfectly quiffed hair. You can watch the full song on the first clip of the film at NZonScreen, about 9.50 minutes in.

Pryme left his hometown of Waitara in Taranaki where he'd played in bands and headed for the big smoke in 1964, to make his name in rock n roll. Two years after this film came out, Pryme released 'Gracious Lady Alice Dee' which got banned from radio for supposedly being about LSD.

He later made his name as a music promoter in the 70s, and eventually ended up working for the Auckland Rugby Union in the 80s, as executive director, revving up the games with cheerleaders and rock n roll bands.

His bio at NZonScreen notes that "Pryme kept his private life private, telling few of the sporting people he worked with that he was gay. In the late eighties both he and his long time partner, were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. His partner died on April 16 1990 and Pryme passed away a week later - still essentially ‘in the closet'. During the last few months of his life, he had agreed to allow filmmakers Amanda Millar and Max Adams to make a documentary about his life, on the proviso that it be screened after his death. The resulting film is Lew Pryme - Welcome to My World."

Watch: Don't let it get you at NZonScreen
Watch: Breaking Barriers, a 1993 documentary on John O'Shea
Watch: Broken Barrier (1952)
John O'Shea filmography at NZonScreen, with clips

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