This is "Rainbow Bridge" completely restored to its original, uncut 125-minute length from the only remaining 16mm print in existence. Nothing is missing! See Jimi Hendrix in concert backed by drummer Mitch Mitchell and ba... more »ssist Billy Cox playing such mind-blowing musical milestones as "Purple Haze," "Foxy Lady," "Voodoo Chile," and others atop Hawaii's Haleakala Volcano. A mix of mysticism and music shot mostly at the Rainbow Bridge Occult Meditation Center on Maui, the 1971 film also includes interviews with Hendrix, who, through a psychedelic haze, talks about his life, beliefs, and, in what now seems prophetic, his death, which would occur only three months after the film was shot. 125 minutes.« less
"The reason that there is so much negativity toward this film is for the very understandable reason that its title is "Jimi Hendrix - Rainbow Bridge", and the DVD's cover is nothing but Jimi. It was a marketing tool when the picture first came out over 30 years ago, and Jimi is still being used to market the film. It's like all the folks who sat (and still sit) through "La Vallee" just to hear the Pink Floyd score. I guess it doesn't ever occur to them that the film was made for its own reasons and in order to bring the folks in, the filmmakers made sure there was a popular reason. I doubt that 99% of the people who rented this film would have rented it if the title or the cover didn't mention Hendrix. In fact, judging by the majority of the reviews here, I'm sure of it.!As a 'Jimi Hendrix film' this film surely sucks. He's only in about fifteen or twenty minutes of it, it's not one of his best performances, and sadly he seems like he's well on his way to his ultimate fate.
However, if one rents this film for what it actually is; a documentary about hippies and other counterculture enthusiasts and malcontents, it's quite fascinating. The hippie community in Hawaii was even more 'far out' than that of those that were on the continent. It's a world that seems farther away from us today than that of the 1950s (considering how much our society has regressed politically and culturally, that's not so surprising). The film is very disjointed; don't look for any real narrative, but that's part of the scene: spontaneous, spaced out, and experimental. That's it in a nutshell. Jimi Hendrix is just the frosting on a VERY Alice B. Toklas brownie (for you kids, that's a brownie laced with hashish). It all looks kind of stupid and pointless, but then not so much less so than the lame-brained films about twenty-somethings today. Better 'rock-and-roll' movies about this generation are Michelangelo Antonioni's "Zabriske Point" and Dennis Hopper's "Easy Rider", and a great one is Bob Rafelson's "Head" (yeah, that's with The Monkees but it sabotages EVERYTHING and hey, Jack Nicholson was one of the writers!). Still, this film is a neat time capsule. Grab a bong and get it on with someone you love, and you might just enjoy it!"
"Waving the Freak Flag High"
Clary Antome | 01/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Apparently most people who acquired this film expected a glorious tribute to the mythical Jimi Hendrix. Their disappointment is understandable. Although Hendrix is present in many ways throughout the film (his music forms the main soundtrack, plus there's some nice footage of his famous "volcano-concert", and finally he is shown speaking to two other characters for a few minutes about... whatever), he is not at all the protagonist/hero nor even the main topic. To use the words of one of the characters in the film, Hendrix is just another "vehicle" to spread "the message". That this slight confusion makes people so upset in the end is rather surprising. Especially because Rainbow Bridge is actually a very valuable and even entertaining document of its time, in particular the subculture that turned Hendrix into an idol to begin with. Perhaps instead of expecting another "movie", with cliché plots and superficial characters, viewers should be prepared to watch a kind of documentary (you can't even tell where facts stop and fiction begins, just like when you listen to the president) following a group of well-intentioned hippies who try to deal with the contradictory and very disappointing reality around them by taking refuge in an incongruous but protective reality of their own. Why not? The late 60s and 70s were, after all, an excellent time in Western history for a few young people to freak out by ridiculing and rejecting the so-called rational society around them, that was (just like today) mainly concerned with (over)producing commodities, waging wars and sending funny objects (sometimes with a few hominids in them) into outer space. All in order to fight poverty and ensure that everybody could be free and happy, of course. In opposition to such noble aims, the hippie commune portrayed in Rainbow Bridge makes a radical turn towards mysticism and occultism (with psychedelic drugs and music thrown into it). On the whole, this actually provides for some endearingly hilarious opinions about the world. Especially when the characters talk in all seriousness of the "Space Brothers" who have come to planet Earth to teach humans to use infinite resources of energy, thus freeing them from the dictatorship of big corporations that control electricity, food and oil production, medicine, etc. Or when they imagine what they might have done in their previous lives (as if one life weren't bad enough!). Plus, if you ever wondered what Jimi Hendrix's astrological sign was and what (if anything at all) that might mean, Rainbow Bridge may just provide you with some answers. And if you never wondered - well, it won't hurt you to know, either. Another complaint viewers have is about the lack of plot. Just like in real life, actually. Things happen, you are affected by them, you react to them, then something else happens, and it all goes on and on until you die. You'll be lucky if you understand anything in the process! To claim, though, that there is no order or idea behind Rainbow Bridge is totally exaggerated. Actually, the main character (Pat Hartley) moves from one situation/issue to another, in the end providing a general picture of the commune's attitudes, beliefs and even difficulties in finding out how to "do their thing". There is the impression that the world/government has gone crazy, the discomfort with the Vietnam conflict, the threat of a nuclear war, the effects of urbanization and industrial pollution on the environment, the question of how to spread their message to the rest of the world, the dilemmas of combining sex and drugs with meditation and prayer, and in the end their desire to be together "as one" in a spiritual way - culminating it the concert of Jimi Hendrix.
So you see, however wacky some of the ideas in this film may be, at least you will be exposed to oodles of interesting and unusual information. Which is more than most "movies" can do for you! On top of that there's the great music, the impressive images of late industrial civilization vs nature, and even (if that's your thing) the chance to hear your idol Hendrix rambling under the effect of some drug. It truly is as close to the musical genius as you'll probably ever get. Whatever regrets he might have had about participating in Rainbow Bridge afterwards, a final misconception some viewers have concerns the idea that Hendrix does not belong in such an insultingly bizarre film. Actually, if you consider his music and lyrics, he couldn't have fit better into it. Listen:
"'Cause I've got my own world to live through And I ain't gonna copy you. White collar conservative flashin' down the street Pointin' their plastic finger at me, ha ! They're hopin' soon my kind will drop and die but uh I'm gonna wave my freak flag high, high !"
Yes, Rainbow Bridge is, after all, a great EXPERIENCE in the Hendrix sense. What else could you want? Enjoy the trip - and may the "Space Brothers" save us all before it is too late! "
Albert Doyle | Sanibel, Florida USA | 03/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a life-long Hendrix fan and collector. The movie is both one of the best live performances by Jimi Hendrix and worst film attempts rolled into one. Most collectors snip the entire story part and keep only the concert footage. Jimi's perfomance was full of rare energy and a strong Hawaiian vibe.
I am one of the few who enjoys and endures the 'plot' part only because I'm also a fan of the era. The movie is an acid-age attempt at free-flowing cinema. It didn't really work, but you can see what they were trying to do. That is why I agree with the commentor above who said it could have been a better movie with a little more effort. In any case the movie was made the year after Woodstock in a period of high times and high hopes. It's obvious they thought the energy and colors of the day would swoop this up into a cohesive, self-generated documentation of 60's aspirations. Well, Hendrix pulled off his end - the rest was some kind of attempt at free flowing free association that would capture a certain LSD-fueled magic. A new cosmic generation or metamorphosis into a higher race. What Jimi called "Sky Church". The result was a good shot of a crazy period in American culture - but also a bad attempt at a movie. A must for Hendrix fans anyway. With Jimi's death the whole psychedelic circus came crashing down. Its relics being some of the best guitar ever heard (here included).
On a trip to Maui I was lucky enough to visit the house in which the film was made on the scenic slopes above the north shore. The caretaker told us the field where the concert happened has now grown in with pines...
Edit: Just watch Jimi in this film and ask yourself if he is the forced victim some are saying. We are oh so lucky to have what is probably history's finest rock guitar virtuoso and genius caught on film. Honestly, I don't understand the gratuitous negativity considering. And as far as Jimi "hating this performance" anybody who really knew Hendrix would tell you he hated almost everything he did - which is why he drove Chas Chandler nuts and forced him to quit because he did endless takes of recordings one after the other. Jimi rips in this concert - despite the naysaying of fickle connoiseurs. To me, the reviewers who best understand Hendrix are able to see that the spaced-out philosophy and images are all part of Hendrix's poetry and music. The entire movie is an attempt to fuse his muse and inspiration into the active rainbow bridge ethos. That's why I think the people who dig the hippy scenes understand what it is really about. The "plot" is Pat Hartley coming back to the biblical "vineyard" to see if the supplicants are worthy of the masters patronage. The master is Jimi and his cathartic visit is a epiphonic, sonic sermon on the mount. If Jimi didn't like it it was because it didn't come from him and wasn't under his artistic control. He was probably in a battle with Mike Jeffery at that point. If redone this could have been an epic 60's underground rock movie.
Programming Is The Key
Kenneth M. Goodman | Cleveland, Ohio United States | 06/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sure the hippie scenes are silly and embarrassing...
but the Jimi music can't be beat. So, just for
absurd curiosity, watch the whole thing once to determine
which scenes you like...then program future viewings for just
those scenes. The concert on the volcano, of course you want
that; but there are a few other scenes (with Jimi music
as background) that are cool. Two examples are the
"Dolly Dagger" section...Jimi doesn't appear but this section
is good...and also the "Poli Gap" sequence I especially like...
it's a perfect combination of tripping hippies cavorting to
fantastic Jimi blues."
Out of Control but Honest Period Piece
plsilverman | USA | 11/10/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is not a Jimi Hendrix movie - it's a documentary/documentary-style feature about the glory days (?) of the drop-out counter-culture centered here on a Hawaiian retreat/Meditation place/something which is visited by a hippie-establishment liasion Pat Hartley (lookin' groovy in tight jeans) and later by Mr. Jimi Hendrix.
It's a long, long wait for the Hendrix performance, which is definitely worth waiting for. It's a well-presented segment which captures the feeling of the times.
This movie remains one of my favorite "Oddballs". I do not agree that it is a typical mindless pitch to a new demographic. It is a genuinely mysterious and engrossing enterprise for me in that I still cannot determine if that place is real and if the supporting cast is comprised of real actors.
Several books on Hendrix have very sketchy details on this film."