The Last Impresario

The Last Impresario

(2013)

The most famous person you have never heard of.

Documentary biopic on Michael White, the British playboy, bon vivant and producer whose output in the 1970s influenced a cultural transformation in London. Features a cast of admirers including Kate Moss, Yoko Ono, Anna Wintour, John Cleese and John Waters.... More

The London theatre and film impresario produced over 200 shows and movies over the last 50 years. White brought to the stage the risqué productions of Oh! Calcutta!, The Rocky Horror Show and to the screen Monty Python’s The Holy Grail, as well as introducing Merce Cunningham, Pina Bausch and Yoko Ono to London audiences. Fondly known as 'Chalky' by his friends, he is now in his late 70s and still enjoys partying like there’s no tomorrow.Hide

Flicks Review

Many are critical of the paparazzi culture. They exist for a simple reason however, our fascination with celebrities; those who attend the events and parties that we can and do not. When Gracie Otto found herself at one such party at Cannes Film Festival she noticed the older, unknown man the celebrities were fascinated by. So Otto did the obvious thing. She made a documentary about him.... More

Michael White proves to have been the man who revolutionised London's West End and launched careers from Monty Python to Kate Moss, Barry Humphries to Yoko Ono. He has lived the celebrity life for five decades. And he took photos.

Long before selfies was a word or Presidential phenomenon, White snapped away with an instamatic camera at lunches, dinners and parties with the A-list. The result is around 30,000 photos of every celebrity you can imagine, at play and at ease.

Otto's documentary combines interviews with many of these stars, the photos he took and the ageing impresario himself - now a flirtatious shadow of the playboy producer he once was - to deliver a gloriously entertaining film that is both a candid glimpse into a star-filled universe as well as a cautionary tale of the dangers of being a talented but trusting visionary in a world full of sharks.

Otto even reels in two of the sharks who have taken chunks out of White - Lou Adler and Barry Humphries - and perhaps the only frustration is the failure to truly grill them. Instead staying true to the notion that White is a self-made man, but also a self-sabotaging one.

Above all, White is fascinating. His life story is extraordinary. And Otto's film about him is dynamic and captivating from start to finish.Hide


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The Press Reviews

  • For all the film's shortcomings, White's story does ultimately shine through. Full Review

  • A starry guest list adds extra zing to this warm-hearted documentary. Full Review

  • A gloriously English answer to “The Kid Stays in the Picture”... . Triumphing over adversity, breaking all the rules, leading with his heart rather than his head, charismatic playboy Michael White puts an individual spin on familiar tropes. Full Review

  • Otto has made excellent use of the archive material to which she's had access, and the interviews and the depiction of London's show business world at the time are very well presented Full Review

  • He’s the man at the center of the all the parties you wish you were invited to. He’s the one that everyone who is anyone wants to speak to... Full Review