Scorpion Releasing // 1970 // 89 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker // January 22nd, 2010
I am you...when I love, you love.
You are me...when I kill, you kill.
Those decadent, amoral, '60's era Brits. So kinky, so flip, yet so brittle and confused, they engage in all manner of perversion, though they seldom seem to have any fun. Darling's experiences were certainly embittering, and Georgy Girl found fulfillment by compromising her way into the upper middle class.
In Goodbye Gemini, we meet good-looking but bizarre blond twins Jacki (Judy Geeson, Ten Rillington Place) and Julian (Martin Potter, Fellini Satyricon). Weirdly childlike, though they're in their 20s, they arrive at the family estate in London and proceed to off the elderly, authoritarian caretaker. Then it's off to the local pub, where they meet the slightly sinister Clive (Alexis Kanner, Connecting Rooms) and his friend Denise (Marion Diamond). Soon, Jacki and Julian find themselves mingling with an eclectic -- and sometimes dangerous -- group of hedonistic swingers, with the charming, duplicitous Clive becoming increasingly more manipulative.
But are these angelic-looking hipsters as innocent as they look?
Goodbye Gemini is a modest entry in the UK kink-and-horror canon of the '60s and '70s. Not as high-minded or substantive as The Servant or as subversively silly and lurid as something like the Peter Cushing-starrer Corruption, Goodbye Gemini is a tamely titillating quirk piece on par with Brit efforts such as Twisted Nerve, W, and the Albert Finney remake of Night Must Fall. It spends much of its running time offering up elements that must have seemed daring then -- lots of free love, hints of incest, and gay guys and transvestites galore -- without ever creating a particularly compelling story. It's twisty enough, but meatless.
The first half of the film promises more than we end up getting, with the shallow, emotionally stunted twins playing childish games with each other and later with Clive. There's a strong and creepy sexual undercurrent, and feeling that Jacki and Julian are keeping some kind of intriguing secret. We've already seen them kill, and Jacki carries a Teddy bear named Agamemnon, whom they treat more as a totem than a stuffed toy. Clive has an element of danger about him, and we soon find that he is, in fact, in danger, and that he plans to use the twins -- unwittingly -- to help get him out of his jam.
Here's where the film should start to come together, where all the weirdness we'd seen earlier should pay off; unfortunately, the opposite happens. Clive's attempt to outsmart the twins involves a Polaroid camera and compromising photos with some not-very-convincing transvestites. Once they figure out what's going on, the twins concoct their own scheme, which gets out of hand, and soon, everything is spiraling this way and that. Along for the ride: Sir Michael Redgrave as a respectable gentleman who takes an interest in Jacki.
Director Alan Gibson's film looks more interesting than it is, effectively "mod," and with an emphasis on ambiguity -- lots of mirror images and people who are not what they appear, and the staid Redgrave as a reasonable counterbalance to the hedonistic young. If only the story had kept pace, this would have been a great, kinky relic; as it stands, it's fun and mildly sordid, but ends up rather ordinary. Geeson is effectively odd as Jacki, and Potter plays the tightly wound Julian well, but Kanner is just great as the duplicitous yet seductive Clive.
The disc is a decent affair: reasonable transfer, though not without its share of nicks and some softness; audio is acceptable, though subtitles would have helped a lot (particularly with all the British accents). Extras include the film's trailer, a trailer gallery with spots for Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girly, The Last Grenade, Say Hello to Yesterday, and Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls, and a commentary track with Geeson and Peter Snell, who produced Goodbye Gemini.
If quirky British psychodoodling is your thing, then you'll probably want to give Goodbye Gemini at least a rental. Not for all tastes, but not guilty, either.
Review content copyright © 2010 Tom Becker; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Scorpion Releasing
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 1970
MPAA Rating: Rated R