Music, illustration, graphic design, and other interesting things.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

David Bowie in "The Image" 1967 short film/Luv Ice Cream spot with Ridley Scott and Alan Hawkshaw


Above: Bowie's first film appearance

Back in September 1967, David Bowie starred in a short film called "The Image" alongside actor Michael Byrne, directed by Michael Armstrong. Armstrong, perhaps hopped up on too much Cahiers du Cinema, described it as "a study of the illusionary reality world within the schizophrenic mind of the artist at his point of creativity." This kind of grand statement is, not surprisingly, not fulfilled in the movie, which lurches about confusedly searching for depth, but instead ends up locked in a self-conscious trance. One thing that is good about it is Bowie's performance as a man come to life out of a painting who haunts the artist who created him. The artist repeatedly attacks Bowie, who, zombie like, revives inexplicably. Bowie's stage presence and moody posturing inject life into this film without dialogue. In 1983, Bowie described "The Image" as

"an underground black and white avant-garde thing done by some guy. He wanted to make a film about a painter doing a portrait of a guy in his teens, and the portrait comes to life, and in fact, turns out to be the corpse of some bloke. I can't really remember all the plot, but it was a fourteen-minute short and it was awful."

Bowie earned 30 pounds for his acting services, and in 1973 the movie was shown between porn movies in a London cinema, in an attempt to cash in on Bowie's rising stock.


Perhaps the NME said it best:

"Gasp with horror as your hero gets murdered, not once, not twice, but five times. Gasp with astonishment as he gets up entirely unharmed. Wonder with puzzlement how his acting career ever survived the carnage"

Also included is a short clip for Luv ice cream (lyrics to theme song), which like this movie, went nowhere. Surprisingly, 2 interesting people were involved in this spot: director Ridley Scott, and legendary "library music" composer Alan Hawkshaw.

Besides appearing in the Lyons Maid Luv ice-cream lolly TV commercial, David also appeared as a member of the band singing "Luv, Luv, Luv". The commercial was shot at 7 Eccleston Square in London on 22nd January 1969. The director of this commercial Ridley Scott is the older brother of Tony Scott who directed David in the feature film 'The Hunger'.

The band who recorded the track were called Mint. The song 'Luv' was written by Alan Hawkshaw and Ray Cameron, the single 'Luv / Simone' was released on the Tangerine label (Tangerine 14) in 1969.

This obscure track appears on the compliation CD We Can Fly Volume 4 Psychedelic Obscurities - 25 Psych Rarities 1966-1971.

Coincidentially Alan Hawkshaw performed on keyboards for David on the BBC Session in 1968 for John Peel In Top Gear. Recorded and broadcast in May 1968.

The ice-lolly was launched in England on May 12th 1969. Luv was a lolly similar to Fab aimed at girls 10-15 years. Three quarters covered in chocolate and hundreds and thousands (i.e., "sprinkles") and costing 9d. The product was backed by TV advertising and opportunity to collect a set of picture pop stars. additionally there was a range of other promotional material such as wall charts and T-shirts.

About 60 per cent of Lyons Maid production of ice cream was produced at Bridge Park. They handled just about every variety in the Lyons Maid range and many well-known lines were made exclusively there, for example Luv, Zoom, Orbit and Super Sea Jet lollies..."
(From David Bowie Wonderworld Trivia Corner)

(Thanks to Pegg's The Complete David Bowie for info)

The Image (GB 1967 dir. Michael Armstrong) +
Very early promo film for Luv Ice cream (75.5 MB .avi file)

1 comment:

Moonage said...

Excellent, excellent, post!