Chelsea interviewed director Stuart Cooper in December 2005
U.K., 1975. 85 min. Jowsend. Cast: Brian Stirner, Davyd Harries, Nicholas Ball, Julie Neesam, Sam Sewell John Franklyn-Robbins, Stella Tanner; Cinematography: John Alcott; Editing: Jonathan Gili; Music: Paul Glass Produced by: James Quinn; Written by: Stuart Cooper and Christopher Hudson; Directed by: Stuart Cooper.
Every cineaste worth their stack of Criterions has a list of â€œholy grailâ€ movies â€“ films whose titles have been lost to time or whose availability has been restricted due to pressing distribution or legal issues. Chief among mine was Overlord, a British feature from the 1970s that used archival footage from the Imperial War Museum to observe the story of a doomed British soldier. Iâ€™d first heard about the film from John Gianvito, an esteemed local cineaste who recommended it to me after seeing a dreadful short Iâ€™d made that incorporated found newsreel footage. Unfortunately, Overlordâ€™s entire American distribution amounted to a few broadcasts on the esteemed LA pay cable station Z Channel, followed by a weekend engagement at New Yorkâ€™s Walter Reade Theatre in 1985. While bootlegs of the Z broadcast and British VHS tape existed, finding them on the cult-driven black market made for a challenge.