5.9/10
62
2 user 19 critic

Catch My Soul (1974)

PG | | Musical, Drama | 22 March 1974 (USA)
Set in the American Southwest, Othello is a wandering evangelist who happens onto Iago's remote commune.

Director:

Patrick McGoohan

Writers:

Jack Good, William Shakespeare (play)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Richie Havens ... Othello
Lance LeGault ... Iago
Season Hubley ... Desdemona
Tony Joe White ... Cassio
Susan Tyrrell ... Emilia
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bonnie Bramlett
Delaney Bramlett Delaney Bramlett
Raleigh Gardenhire Raleigh Gardenhire
Billy Joe Royal Billy Joe Royal
Wayne Waterhouse Wayne Waterhouse
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Storyline

Set in the American Southwest, Othello is a wandering evangelist who happens onto Iago's remote commune. There he marries the lovely Desdemona much to the chagrin of Iago, who also loves her. The conniving commune leader then manages to quietly pressure Othello until murder and tragedy ensue. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Total Immersion.

Genres:

Musical | Drama

Certificate:

PG
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Loosely based on Shakespeare's "Othello." Director Patrick McGoohan had previously played the Iago character in another update of the story with a musical background, "All Night Long" more than a decade earlier. See more »

Connections

Featured in True Soul: The Work of Conrad L. Hall (2015) See more »

User Reviews

 
A letdown 45 years in the making
7 July 2018 | by ofumalowSee all my reviews

This long-thought-lost rock musical-which updates "Othello" to 1967 Southwestern US hippiedom for no obvious reason-turns out to be one of those rediscoveries you're grateful for only because you can now cross it off the bucket list. No one was enthused in 1974, and much as nostalgia and curiosity value should improve it now, it's still a limp mess. Why was actor Patrick McGoohan hired as director? His other credits in that role were all TV episodes, and he seems to have done just fine with them-but this kind of assignment (the only feature he ever directed) requires a lot of energy and style, none of which are at all in supply. Did McGoohan take it because he'd played the Iago figure in a prior "musical Othello" of sorts, the interesting early 60s British jazz drama "All Night Long"? Maybe. But apparently he drank a lot on this set, and the whole enterprise has the feel of a production without a guiding force, that never quite got its act together. Like the kind of rural hippie bonfire party/jam session that occupies a fair amount of screentime here, it's a ragged free-for-all that doesn't have much appeal to the sober viewer.

The music is unmemorable, and often thrown away by the staging, such as it is. In fact there really aren't "musical numbers" per se, as generally people just mill around while arbitrarily either singing visibly or as voiceover commentary. (There's also way too much spoken voiceover narration.) There's no choreography at all. The lyrics are weak, and lack the kind of deliberate slangy hipster verbiage that can be excused as at least partly ironic/satirical in the likes of "Jesus Christ Superstar."

In fact, "Catch My Soul" seems to really, really want to be "Jesus Christ Superstar" and/or "Godspell," sticking in a giant dose of pseudo-Biblical yakkety yak-Othello's some kind of preacher here-that further obscures Shakespeare's story, which in other circumstances should have provided a strong enough narrative arc to hang a musical on. The movie seems to presuppose familiarity with "Othello," but does absolutely nothing to milk its basic suspense and conflicts, which are further disabled by the leads having no chemistry (esp. Ritchie Havens' vague Othello and Season Hubley's mousey Desdemona).

As Iago, Lance LeGault seems the only performer here interested in or capable of delivering a real performance. Others, like the inexperienced-at-acting Tony Joe White and Havens, as well as experienced actors Hubley and Tyrrel, seem to be waiting for directorial instruction that never arrives. (That doesn't stop Tyrrel from a bit of scenery-chewing, but distinctive as she is, she needed a good director, too.) Of course there's some interest in seeing vintage rock performers like Delaney & Bonnie and Billy Joe Royal, but you'd be much better off watching any existing concert footage-despite the fact that Conrad Hall's cinematography is probably the best single factor here.

Probably the biggest disappointment about "Soul" is that it's not even a fun failure-despite all the entertaining-in-theory elements, it's just flat, neither stylish or humorous, and lacking unintentional humor, too. You can imagine editor Richard A. Harris, and later the distributors/investors, looking at the footage and saying "Jeez...how're we gonna salvage this turkey?" They couldn't-I remember the film coming out and getting widely reviewed, but it barely seems to have played anywhere. Then it was entirely forgotten before anyone realized it was a rarity due to no prints being accessible.

So, yeah, I'm glad to have seen it. But like the same year's (arguably even worse) rock musical "Son of Dracula," this is a curio that's actually kind of a drag to finally watch. More entertaining than the movie itself is the Blu-Ray's making-of extra in which two surviving major behind-the-scenes collaborators talk about all the heavy substance use, ego clashes and other factors that explain why this film didn't turn out so well.


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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 March 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Santa Fe Satan See more »

Filming Locations:

Espanola, New Mexico, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metromedia Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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