Show This Week

March 29, 2020

1372.) The “kitchen sink” cycle of films is supposed to have officially died with Lindsay Anderson’s collaborations with Malcolm McDowell, but the feature I’m discussing this week, Little Malcolm and his Struggle Against the Eunuchs (1974), definitely has major connections with the kitchen sink/angry young dramas. Basically a filmed play (“opened up” for cinema), it tells the story of an art student (a young and shaggy John Hurt) who, out of sheer spite, begins a political party with his friends, the ridiculously titled “Dynamic Erection” party. He espouses a political philosophy, but mostly the party is created to get back at a fellow art student who had him kicked out of a pub. The film starts out as a comic satire (with very funny comic dialogue, from the play by David Haliwell, and a great supporting performance by David Warner) and slowly becomes pitch dark, since Malcolm’s political impulses, such as they are, are completely fascist. Little Malcolm was out of distribution for decades, since it was included in the wrangle between its producer – a certain George Harrison (who contributed a song to the soundtrack and produced two others) – and the late, not-so-lamented Allen Klein. Harrison bankrolled the film as he did with later “Handmade” titles, because he had loved Halliwell’s play and wanted to see a movie based on it.