The Committee (1968)

Article 4543 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-24-2014
Directed by Peter Sykes
Featuring Paul Jones, Tom Kempinski, Richard Langdon Lloyd
Country: UK
What it is: Odd little art film

A hitch-hiker decapitates the man who picks him up, but changes his mind and sews the head back on. A few days later, he is called to be on a committee, and he discovers the man who he decapitated is also there. Could the purpose of the committee have something to do with the earlier event?

From what I gather about the way this 56 minute film is promoted, it is mostly remembered nowadays for having a soundtrack featuring Pink Floyd. The odd thing is that despite their presence, the most interesting musical moment comes from a performance by Arthur Brown (of “The Crazy World of…”). Even at that, I’m not sure the performance has any real connection with the rest of the movie, which seems to be mostly conversational speculation on the way we relate to the world and other people. There are some really striking moments here as well as some rather dull moments; probably the two scenes that will stick in the mind the most are the aforementioned performance by Arthur Brown and the opening sequence with the decapitation. At least there is clear fantastic content involved in the story in that once the decapitated man has his head back, he returns to life and carries on as if nothing has happened; a lot of art/experimental films have much vaguer fantastic content. Even at the movie’s short length, it’s a bit overlong; it probably should have been done as a short. It’s odd and often interesting, but not completely successful.

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