Robert Hartford-Davis – Gonks Go Beat (1965)

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Bizarre sixties fable resembling Romeo and Juliette, but instead of Montagues and Capulets, there are two musical communities, one who like rock and roll and one who like ballads, who become reunited through the love between a couple who love across their grouping. It features little furry puppets called Gonks.

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Incredibly rare, mid-60’s rock and roll sci-fi obscurity. So rare, most film books don’t even LIST the title.

A recent screening of the sole surviving print at Hollywood’s AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE, shows that the film is no great shakes, but worth seeking out for the completists.

GONKS tells the story of an Alien who comes to earth to settle a dispute between the two great nations of our future planet. One nation loves rock and roll, the other, ballads. The Alien befriends a bizarre former Record Exec (MR. A & R) who looks suspiciously like Buddy Holly (had he lived to join Elvis in Vegas!). The pair hatch a scheme to set up a Romeo and Juliet-like romance to bring the warring nations together.

It works, but not before a bunch of mediocre rock songs and wretched ballads are sung, cheap interior sets are trampled and the audience’s patience is worn thin. Meanwhile, on planet Gonk, a bunch of hand puppets runs amok.

The biggest highlight is a thrilling 9 Drummer jam session (led by Ginger Baker) held in a prison cell (don’t ask).

Otherwise, it’s fairly dull with only a little schlock value.

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