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Dropout (1970)

 -  Romance | Drama  -  January 1975 (USA)
7.7
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Title: Dropout (1970)

Dropout (1970) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Bruno
...
Mary
...
Cieco
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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January 1975 (USA)  »

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Dropout  »

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Trivia

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 »

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

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User Reviews

 
Amateur horsing around by Franco, Vanessa & Tinto
5 July 2011 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

We are lucky that today's crop of superstars and wannabes don't crank out amateur movies the way their predecessors often did in the '60s and '70s. Case in point is this ego-trip by lovers Franco Nero and Vanessa Redgrave, under the tutelage of Tinto Brass, made back to back with a similar junker VACATION.

Even if you don't appreciate his latter-day erotica, you have to be thankful Brass emerged from his execrable experimental/"revolutionary" phase. Shot in London, this pretentious exercise in overacting plays like a home movie.

Franco portrays a bedraggled Italian bum Bruno in London who steals away lovely Mary Hopkins (Vanessa, looking great here even when they slop on "dirt makeup" to try and keep her in character) from her stuffy husband Robert, and the duo wander around purposely chosen ugly settings (junkyards and tenements) in an attempt to bore the viewer to death.

IMDb lists some misinformation presently -I suspect that the film was shot in English and dubbed in Italian (I saw the Italian version) rather than vice versa, and with no distributor listed the 1975 U.S. release date is undoubtedly false -I have no record of it ever having been distributed here.

We can tell where Brass is headed early on, with graffiti reading "The only poetry is the revolution" and "Work is anti-life". Mustachioed Nero wearing an odd bowler-style hat is overbearing, and the tastelessness of the film is revealed in his kicking a pesky cat through a window (no, on revolutionary films like this there is none of that bourgeois "no animals were harmed in the making of this film" disclaimer at the end) or urinating, sort of on camera.

Attempts at humor, such as occasional speeded-up footage with the cast behaving stiffly like Silent Era Keystone Cops, are ridiculous, and the supporting cast mixture of Brits and imported Italians all mug for the camera. Vanessa is permitted, even in the Italian-track version, to sing many ballads or folk songs at will in English, culminating late in the day with an obviously mean-spirited "God Save Our Queen".

Low point of the Primo Tempo is a sequence where they check in to a flop house one night, and both Black and white girls steal Vanessa's clothes, followed by a time capsule-style parade of Hare Krishna freaks. Duo's next stop is a slaughterhouse, followed by Vanessa freaking out and hallucinating.

Secondo Tempo brings Luigi Proietti into the fray, caught in the middle of a shave (with the foam on his chin stumping the continuity person for the first reel of Part 2). He and an idiot henchmen take over center stage, as if dispatched to save the flagging narrative, but fail. In fact Brass, with trademark stogie in his mouth, shows up himself as an erstwhile pornographer (natch) in a studio flanked by a giant phallus sculpture and rude artwork, to slap Vanessa around. Even Hitchcock at his most manipulative treated his cattle better.

Thugs next beat Nero to a pulp, and the bedraggled duo carry on a conversation with "shoe phones" right out of Don Adams' GET SMART handbook. To call this Theatre of the Absurd is an insult to that now mummified tradition, which peaked in the '60s.

Vanessa returns to her hubby, even kissing his foot, shining his shoes, lighting his cigar, cleaning his teeth with a toothpick, q-tipping his ears and (this being a Brass movie) wiping his backside in supplication. Hubby Robert puts a sack over his head and starts whipping her! Oh, those cwazy Brits!

With extremely poor continuity, F & V next pop up on a train where they make love with disembodied voice-over, the technique (though not the content) of a cheap porno film. They arrive at a foggy beach where Robert spots them again -cue the speeded-up slapstick footage.

SPOILER ALERT:

After they go to sleep near the beach covered in collected newspapers for warmth, Vanessa goes to the water next morning to splash her face and British bobbies arrive to arrest Nero. They beat him up, and the sounds of shots ring out, with Vanessa falling dead. Robert reappears and a bobby in closeup makes a shushing motion to the viewer for an absurdist freeze-frame ending.

I really disliked watching talented performers like Nero and his future wife pulling faces and hamming it up for nearly two hours of torture. Yes, this is much closer to Theatre of Cruelty for me, and I dread the rainy (torrential actually) day when I'll have to watch my DVD of VACATION for completeness' sake.


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