THE LAST IMPRESARIO (Gracie Otto). 92 minutes. Opens Friday (November 28). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
Michael White‘s name appears on a few dozen movies and TV and stage shows, but you likely have no idea who he is. Gracie Otto met him at a party in Cannes a few years ago, and she’s out to fix that.
Otto’s documentary The Last Impresario is a bouncy ride through White’s life and work, and there’s quite a lot of ground to cover. The English theatre producer brought Oh! Calcutta and The Rocky Horror Show to the London stage, was instrumental in the making of Monty Python And The Holy Grail and has for decades been a fixture on the European party circuit, a friend to everyone from John Cleese to Naomi Watts.
He’s basically the British version of Robert Evans, and Otto’s documentary is his The Kid Stays In The Picture – a testament to his wonderfulness that pulls back just enough so it never feels like full-on hagiography.
Otto (sister of actor Miranda) packs her film with candid interviews with major stars who feel White gave them their big break, but most of the commentary comes from White himself, who refuses to discuss his obvious physical frailty – which looks a lot like the result of at least one stroke – but is otherwise remarkably forthcoming.
It’s a fun, glamorous watch, and by the end you do get a sense of White’s considerable charisma, as well as an urge to pull out that Holy Grail DVD.