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Dropout (1970)

 |  Romance, Drama  |  January 1975 (USA)
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Title: Dropout (1970)

Dropout (1970) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Cast overview:
Frank Windsor
Carlo Quartucci
Gabriella Ceramelli
Patsy Smart Darcus
Giuseppe Scavuzzo
Mariella Zanetti
Zoe Incrocci
Sam Dorras


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Romance | Drama


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Release Date:

January 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dropout  »

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Did You Know?


Part of this film was shot in buildings around St. Catherine's Dock near Tower Bridge in London, one of which was rented out as studio space for artists and film-makers by a company known as S.P.A.C.E., an acronym for Space Provision (Artistic, Cultural and Educational) Ltd. The same location was used by Dutch sculptor Herman Makkink and his brother Cornelis for their studio, and several scenes in Drop-out show art pieces which were later prominently featured by Stanley Kubrick in A Clockwork Orange (1971) -- the most easily recognizable are Herman's phallic-shaped sculpture called "Rocking Machine" (used as the murder weapon in The Cat Lady scene) and Cornelis' "Christ Unlimited" figures (which appear in Alex De Large's apartment). Nine paintings by Cornelis were also used by Kubrick (a detail of one, featuring a woman with her legs spread, hangs over Alex's bed and the rest appear on the walls of The Cat Lady's studio). Although Drop-out is extremely hard to see these days, publicity stills from the film featuring Vanessa Redgrave and other cast members next to these pieces of art are relatively common. Some speculate that Kubrick stole the idea to use the artwork from seeing Drop-out, which was released one year before A Clockwork Orange, but Herman Makkin said that Kubrick and his wife visited his studio as early as 1969 so the fact that both films feature the same art is probably just a coincidence and a testament to Makkin's futuristic vision. See more »


Referenced in A Talk with Tinto Brass (2012) See more »

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Quirky delight
8 December 2012 | by See all my reviews

DROPOUT just recently played twice at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival (HRIFF for short) and it was quite surprisingly entertaining and inventive, and it was frequently quite humorous as well. Apparently the producer, Carlo Ponti, "dropped out" of the movie during preproduction, but the director and the two leads decided to go ahead with it anyway, using their own funds and presales. The quality of the 16mm source print was rather sorry. It was apparently Tinto Brass's own well-worn print, the only material currently available, which had just been somewhat spiffed up for public presentation. Despite this, the originality showed through all the same. Escaped prisoner attacks an upper-class London home, robs the owner of his clothes, and takes his wife hostage. The wife, strangely unafraid, finds the new adventure an enjoyable break from her dull routine of housekeeping and gardening, and within moments finds herself in squalid dumps, in the midst of a violent union strike, in a meeting of black revolutionaries, in a flophouse, and then in an audition to turn tricks to help her captor travel to Italy to find his old girlfriend. During arguments the soundtrack switches to operatic arias as Franco Nero's character dances in time to the grievances. In keeping with the traditions of Italian Neorealism, the extras were actually found on location in the slums. There was even a group of meths drinkers who imbibe in their (prop) concoctions as Gigi Proietti's pimp character sang out his personal manifesto above them. There is no doubt in my mind that the chanting Hare Krishnas just happened to be marching by when Brass told his crew to capture them on film so that he could incorporate them into the story. And in keeping with the traditions of Tinto Brass, this striking Neorealism is continually blended with Theater of the Absurd. The results are unlike anything else.

I should here like to take issue with LOR_'s review. While what he says is mostly accurate (except that the scene where Franco kicks the cat was obviously faked), his opinions are, well, his opinions, just as my opinions are my opinions. It is true that a movie as quirky as this, with a story so unpredictable, would never be Number One on "Boxoffice" magazine's Top-Grossing Flicks of the Week, but Nero and Redgrave fans should get a thrill out of the proceedings, and so should pretty much anyone who enjoys absurdist and offbeat cinema. Franco was certainly never more motivated than he was in this little outing, and his relentlessly over-the-top performance was sheer perfection.

Toward the close of the HRIFF the host read an open letter from Franco Nero to Tinto Brass, written specifically for this festival. The letter was lengthy and Franco was full of effusive praise for Tinto and his brilliant films and working methods. He regretted that after the early 1970s filmmakers no longer had the luxury of realizing their dreams on celluloid come what may. He had the fondest memories of this movie and its making, as well as of its follow-up, VACATION, another comical gem shown twice at the HRIFF.

DROPOUT was barely released when it was new. A 16mm print was circulating among British colleges in the late 1970s, but after that the movie was withdrawn and shown nowhere except in Tinto Brass's living room. So one must wonder how LOR_ even got to see it in July 2011, unless he saw the irredeemably atrocious bootleg that was briefly available on an internet pirate site. It is understandable that someone enduring only that miserable pirated 4" x 5" edition would have a verdict so negative. A viewable edition on the big screen is a completely different experience.

We can hope for the day when this film is at last restored from the original masters and reissued. If Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero could host some screenings, this little indie could easily develop what "The Industry" calls "legs."

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