Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
  Chappaqua The TripBuy this film here.
Year: 1966
Director: Conrad Rooks
Stars: Conrad Rooks, Jean-Louis Barrault, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Ravi Shankar, Paula Pritchett, Ornette Coleman, Swami Satchidananda, Moondog, Jill Lator, John Esam, Ed Sanders, Hervé Villechaize
Genre: Drama, Weirdo
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Allow him to introduce himself: he is Russel Harwick (Conrad Rooks) and he started drinking at the age of fourteen. Soon he was an alcoholic and to cope he progressed to marijauna and hard drugs like heroin and cocaine, then when that wasn't enough he moved on to hallucinogenics. It was while on peyote he had a vision which disturbed hm so much he came to the conclusion that he should try and kick his habit, and so it was that be booked a place at an exclusive French rehabilitation clinic. But first he had to get there, and being drunk in New York wasn't the best way of going about it...

Written off by some as a vanity project, writer and director (and star) Conrad Rooks based Chappaqua on his own life experiences with drugs and his attempts to live a life without them, although judging by the results he achieved here he didn't try very hard. Many is the sequence contained herein which features supposed visions fuelled by narcotic excess, and as it was shot in various parts of the world it also serves as a mystical travelogue; how your interpretation of it all goes depends on how far you're willing to indulge Rooks.

And by the looks of it, he was willing to indulge himself pretty far. Still, the film is by no means inaccessible, and there is a story to be followed should you so desire. When Russel finally makes it to the clinic, after getting drunk on the plane over and continuing his inebriation in the back of the chauffeur-driven car that was sent to pick him up, he is helped into bed and can meet the man who is to assist him out of his drugs hell. He is Jean-Louis Barrault of Les Enfants du Paradis fame, and he and Russel share observations in English and French about Russel's past and how he got to this stage.

Yet, believe it or not, perhaps Rooks isn't entirely sincere in his character's wish to kick his habits. Among the counterculture personalities appearing are William S. Burroughs, who not only sells Russel drugs at one point but appears to be the head of the clinic; now I don't know about you, but rehab run by Burroughs doesn't exactly fill me with optimism. Also appearing, mainly in passing, are outsider artist Moondog, poet Allen Ginsberg and jazz musician Ornette Coleman, but although we hear a burst of him he isn't the man who provides the soundtrack. That is left to Ravi Shankar, who appears too, and his music fits surprisingly well to the footage.

A lot of that footage has a playful mood, and Rooks had spared no expense in getting to exotic locations to build up a sense of tapping into a universal truth (he was given the funding by his rich company boss father). However, that truth may be that drugs turn you self-centred and rambling, fit only for the company of other addicts. That said, Chappaqua (the title comes from the place Russel spent his childhood) is entertaining perhaps because it never settles down into a rut like a lot of drugs movies do. It presents a wide variety of imagery, such as Native American religious ceremonies, Indian religious ceremonies, and a bloke dressed as Gandalf arseing about on Stonehenge. All that and a vampire too. The film sums up a period in time in its pretentious manner, but is more than simply historically interesting.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3179 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton


Last Updated: