Blu-ray: Who’s Crazy?

STUDIO: Kino Lorber | DIRECTOR: Thomas White | CAST: Wimme Andre, Melvin Clay, Tom Edmondston, Tom Einhorn, Diane Gregory
RELEASE DATE: July 25, 2017 | PRICE: DVD $13.19, Blu-ray $25.31
BONUSES: director Q&A, booklet essay, 1966 episode of “Tempo International”
SPECS: NR | 73 min. | Drama | 1.33:1 widescreen | 2.0 stereo

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

Thomas White’s 1966 experimental drama Who’s Crazy, a “lost” film (more on that later), is a free-form burst of New Wave-ish moviemaking that follows a group of mental patients who escape from their handlers’ bus, hole up in a deserted Belgian farmhouse and set up their own radical society. When the bunch isn’t arranging a wedding ceremony or putting one of their own on trial, they’re cooking up a load of eggs, cavorting about naked, lighting things on fire, and screaming out disjointed poetry.

The escaped passengers are portrayed by actors from New York’s Living Theatre, the city’s renowned experimental theater troupe, while the soundtrack is provided by the great Ornette Coleman and his trio members David Izenzon (on the bass) and drummer Charles Moffett, who reportedly recorded the score in one session while the film was projected for them. The soundtrack also features a young Marianne Faithfull on one of the tracks. Interestingly, much of Coleman’s performance features him on the trumpet and the violin, which he had only recently taught himself to play.

As is the case with a number of “lost” films, the story behind the unearthing of the film is at least as fascinating as the production itself. The movie was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966 (along with other screenings in Paris, where it was endorsed by Surrealist Salvador Dalí), but it hasn’t been shown publicly since then and was widely thought to be lost by jazz-on-film scholars and the Library of Congress, Then, in early 2015, the only surviving copy of the film, a 35mm print struck for Cannes, was salvaged from director White’s garage after sitting on a shelf there for decades. The restoration was supervised by John Klacsmann, archivist at New York’s Anthology Film Archives.

So, there you go. Fans of Sixties experimental cinema and/or rare Ornette Coleman recordings, take note!

Buy or Rent Who’s Crazy?

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.