Catch My Soul

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Catch My Soul
CatchMySoul.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Patrick McGoohan[1]
Produced by Jack Good
Richard M. Rosenbloom
Written by William Shakespeare (play)
Jack Good (musical)
Starring Richie Havens
Lance LeGault
Season Hubley
Tony Joe White
Susan Tyrrell
Music by Tony Joe White, Emil Dean Zoghby
Cinematography Conrad Hall
Editing by Richard A. Harris
Studio Metromedia Productions
Distributed by Cinerama Releasing Corporation (USA)
20th Century Fox (UK)
Release dates 22 March 1974 (New York City)
Running time 97 min
Country United States
Language English

Catch My Soul is a 1974 film produced by Jack Good and Richard M. Rosenbloom, and directed by Patrick McGoohan. It was an adaptation of Good's stage musical of the same title, which itself was loosely adapted from William Shakespeare's Othello. It was not a critical success.

Production[edit]

Shakespeare's tragedy of revenge and racism had been retitled for the London stage and relocated from Venice to Piccadilly; for the film, the location of the drama was moved to the New Mexico desert; filming took place in Española and Santa Fe. The title comes from Act III, Scene III of Shakespeare's play, in which Othello declares his love for Desdemona, "Perdition catch my soul, but I do love thee; and when I love thee not, chaos is come again."[2]

Although much of the plot remains intact, Othello, the "noble Moor" becomes the pacifist leader of a hippie commune,[3] Iago appears to be the Devil incarnate who "fits all the negative stereotypes of dropouts with his scruffy beard and unwashed look"[4] and Desdemona becomes a "white round-faced girl with granny glasses".[4]

Patrick McGoohan had earlier starred in the successful 1962 modernisation of the Othello story, All Night Long, which had been moved to 1960s London and fuelled by jazz music. AllMovie's reviewer points out that "perhaps he thought lightning would strike twice in moving it to a gospel show in the Southwest. He was terribly wrong."[5] Catch My Soul would be the only film to be directed by McGoohan,[6] although he later directed some episodes of Columbo.[7] In an interview with Premiere magazine in 1995, McGoohan gave some insight into why the film had failed:

I lived in New Mexico at that time and the producer did too. He'd heard I was available and that's how, after the hiatus that followed The Prisoner, I came back to the profession. Unhappily, in the process of making the film, he got religion. ... Catholicism. He became a convert; he took the film and re-cut it. The editor warned me, I asked that my name be taken off it, and, unhappily, that was not done. The result is a disaster. What's more, he added 18 minutes of religious stuff. Ridiculous. But the music was good. Ritchie wrote one or two marvellous songs. Again, it's one of those typical show business stories. Very sad.[6]

Of the cast, Richie Havens was well-known from his appearance at Woodstock Festival, but this was his first acting role; Lance LeGault had some experience, but not playing major roles; likewise Season Hubley and Susan Tyrrell. Tony Joe White was already fairly well known as a musician. Allmovie's Craig Butler was moved to comment "Laughable also describes every dramatic performance, as do horrible and unbelievable."[5]

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

The film appeared at the same time as Jesus Christ Superstar. It failed as an arthouse film, was retitled "Santa Fe Satan", and reissued as a drive-in exploitation film.[9]

Critical reviews of Catch My Soul were generally negative, Time Out's reviewer describing it as

"Hampered all the way by McGoohan's languorous direction, which lets each appalling moment of this uncomfortable hybrid of grade-school Shakespeare and grade-school religion sink wincingly in."[10]

Leslie Halliwell was equally scathing, his description being

"A rock and country musical version of Othello, in which the tragic original is trivialized to the point of boredom"[11]

AllMovie's Craig Butler was able to say that "some of the musical performances, especially from Richie Havens and Tony Joe White are quite good, and much of the music is worth hearing ... removed from the movie." Nevertheless, his overall assessment is "a train wreck of a movie that inspires awe and that makes one appreciate a time when awful movies could be so bad in such an interesting way."[5]

Soundtrack[edit]

A soundtrack album was issued by Metromedia to tie-in with the film.[12] The New York Times reviewer, in line with others, commented "Forget the movie and get the soundtrack album."[8]

Track listing
  1. "Othello, Pt. 1" - Tony Joe White
  2. "Wash Us Clean" - Jack Good, Tony Joe White
  3. "Catch My Soul, Pt. 1" - Jack Good, Tony Joe White
  4. "Working on a Building" - Tony Joe White
  5. "Othello, Pt. 2" - Tony Joe White
  6. "Catch My Soul, Pt. 2" - Jack Good, Tony Joe White, Lance LeGault,
  7. "Open Our Eyes" - Leon Lumkins
  8. "Backwoods Preacher Man" - Tony Joe White
  9. "Looking Back" - Delaney Bramlett, Tony Joe White
  10. "Eat the Bread-Drink the Wine" - Jack Good, Tony Joe White
  11. "That's What God Said" - Delaney Bramlett
  12. "Chug-A-Lug (The Drinking Song)" - Delaney Bramlett
  13. "I Found Jesus" - Delaney Bramlett
  14. "Run, Shaker Life" - (unknown)
  15. "Catch My Soul, Pt. 3" - Jack Good, Tony Joe White
  16. "Book of Prophecy" - Jack Good, Richie Havens
  17. "Othello, Pt. 3" - Tony Joe White
  18. "Lust of the Blood" - Jack Good, Ray Pohlman
  19. "Tickle His Fancy" - Allene Lubin
  20. "Why" - Jack Good, Emile Dean Zoghby
  21. "Othello, Pt. 4" - Tony Joe White
  22. "Catch My Soul, Pt. 4" - Jack Good, Tony Joe White
  23. "Put Out the Light" - Jack Good, Ray Pohlman
  24. "Othello, Pt. 5" - Tony Joe White

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Catch My Soul at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ "Othello at Wikiquote". Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  3. ^ "Catch My Soul". Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  4. ^ a b Sprague Rothwell, Kenneth (2004). A History of Shakespeare on Screen. Cambridge University Press. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-521-54311-8. 
  5. ^ a b c "Catch My Soul - Review". AllMovie. Retrieved 2001-01-06. 
  6. ^ a b Katelan, Jean-Yves (October 1995). "Le Prisonnier au cinema". Premiere (223): 26. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  7. ^ "McGoohan as director". Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  8. ^ a b Canby, Vincent (March 23, 1974). "Movie Review - Catch My Soul". New York Times. Retrieved 19 January 2009.  (requires login)
  9. ^ Brode, Douglas (2000). Shakespeare in the Movies. Oxford University Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-19-513958-7. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  10. ^ "Catch My Soul". Time Out. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  11. ^ Halliwell, Leslie (1995). Halliwell's Film & Video Guide. London: HarperCollins. p. 133. ISBN 0-00-638779-9. 
  12. ^ "Catch My Soul". Retrieved 2009-01-18.