THE FINAL PROGRAMME
RELEASED OUT NOW! 1973 | 15 | Blu-ray
Director Robert Fuest
Cast Jon Finch, Jenny Runacre,
Sterling Hayden, Graham Crowden
Introduced in the pages of British science fiction magazine New Worlds, Michael Moorcock’s multifaceted hero Jerry Cornelius was the closest the ’60s counterculture came to its own James Bond: a dandy playboy adventurer, caught up in outlandish scrapes.
This big-screen adaptation failed to conjure 007-style business, despite the charisma of its lead Jon Finch, who enters looking like Jim Morrison and swaggers through proceedings with a leather-gloved blend of loucheness and intensity.
Director Robert Fuest was a veteran of The Avengers and summons some of that irony here. He also brings a terrific eye for design, staging a scene inside a giant pinball machine and presenting a Ballardian pile of abandoned cars against the London skyline, illustrating a slow creep to apocalypse that feels unnervingly prescient.
But if the film succeeds as a ’70s design catalogue it fails as a storytelling exercise. It takes strong, provocative ideas and has no idea how to thread them into a compelling whole. Listless and unengaging, it’s for your eyes only.
Extras Film critic Kim Newman provides a retrospective on Robert Fuest (14 minutes), making a persuasive case that he could have been a rival to fellow Brit-film visionary Ken Russell. Co-star Jenny Runacre shares memories (11 minutes), revealing that Moorcock’s dissatisfaction with the film may have scuppered plans to make a whole series of movies.
A glimpse of the Italian title sequence (two minutes) is barely a curio, while a selection of trailers (eight minutes) includes an amusing attempt to sell the film as a hard-edged apocalyptic thriller. The package also includes four art cards. Nick Setchfield
Michael Moorcock wanted cult space-rock group Hawkwind (friends of his) to score the film, but was overruled by the director.