The Last Impresario (4 stars)

The Last Impresario

This celebratory look at the life of Michael White brings together lots of famous faces

Glasgow-born Michael White is frequently dubbed the most famous man you have never heard of. A showbusiness mover and shaker, he has rubbed shoulders with everyone from Bowie to the Beatles and Mick Jagger to the Monty Python team. He has supped with royalty, helped stage landmark musicals The Rocky Horror Show and A Chorus Line, make cult films like Polyester and always whilst savouring the wildest excesses of the jet-set party lifestyle from the Riviera to Hollywood and back.

The Last Impresario offers an affectionate, gossip-filled salute to White's life and times, and is made all the more poignant by the contrast between an elderly, frail White and the energetic hedonist who cut a dash in Swinging Sixties London and caroused with Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty.

Inspired by a chance encounter at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010, The Last Impresario is the impressive feature debut of Australian director Gracie Otto, half-sister of Miranda. Otto has assembled a wealth of archive material and rounded up a stellar list of famous faces to interview, including John Cleese, Anna Wintour, Yoko Ono, Barry Humphries and John Waters.

The film is breezy and fast-paced in keeping with an approach that tends to accentuate the positive. There is little desire to shed much light on the darker corners of White's lifestyle, or to attempt to understand his rise and gentle descent from the top table. A series of strokes have left White unable to be a vital presence in his own film, although you suspect he would have been equally unwilling to spill all the beans. This is, above all, a celebration and as such is entertaining, informative and good fun. Imagine a British version of The Kid Stays in the Picture and you have its measure.

Selected release from Fri 26 Sep.

The Last Impresario Trailer

The Last Impresario

  • 4 stars
  • 2013
  • Australia / UK / US / France
  • 1h 22min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Gracie Otto
  • Cast: Michael White, Gracie Otto, Naomi Watts
  • UK release: 26 September 2014

Affectionate salute to Glasgow-born White, producer of stage musicals such as Rocky Horror and A Chorus Line and movies such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Polyester. Impressive feature debut from director/producer Otto (younger sister of Miranda), who rounds up a stellar list of interviewees and keeps things…