|Index||7 reviews in total|
Stands alongside Pennebaker's 'Don't Look Back' as
pioneering 60's verite rockumentary. By turns funny, touching, exciting &
revealing. Whitehead manages to create an astonishing level of intimacy with
the world's premier rock band which would be unthinkable these days. Even
the taciturn Charlie Watts is coaxed out of his shell and shares his
feelings and philosophy (for perhaps the only time on film). Brian Jones's
narcissism is palpable; A topless Keef displays his early mastery of the
guitar jamming on 'Salty Dog'. The scenes of fan craziness in the pressure
cooker fame game of the
early 60's are viewed ironically from a distance like 'A Hard Day's Night'
directed by Godard. The film also works now as a sort of social history of
Ireland in the evocative detail of a vanished era. The occasional melancholy
tone is one of the idiosyncratic touches that sets the film apart from any
other pop doc. before or since.
A personal highlight is the hilarious scene where Watts tries to take a cigarette from Wyman but is repeatedly outwitted by some painfully simple sleight of hand.
Charming real-life footage of the Stones when they were a working band. They act like young men in their early 20's experiencing the first flush of fame: impersonating Elvis, running from fans, endless travel. It's not meant to be prophetic but rather, a contemporary look at a phenomenon. A band would be too wise (or too well advised) to be so open now concerning doubt over their abilities or being exposed for their pretensions. Brian Jones is particularly vulnerable to having lofty artistic ideas which he doesn't really understand. This is a fantastic snapshot of rock before cynicism, drugs, police busts, corporate machinery and political sloganeering ushered in the hippy dream and the dark side of the sixties. Rock before overdoses, festivals and manipulative guile.
The 1 hour show was put together in January 1966 by the Stones' manager Andrew Oldham from a combination of concert footage taken during the tour of Ireland in autumn 1965 and backstage interviews, during which Brian Jones discusses his fear of marriage, Charlie Watts his limitations as a musician and Mick Jagger impersonates Elvis!
As an unreconstructed Stones fan this film is a favourite slice of pop
history. Andrew Loog Oldham as the Stones manager at the time was
desperate to get the band on film after seeing the impact of the
Beatles Movies. He was introduced to Pete Whitehead who had made a film
called Wholly Communion which recorded Alan Ginsberg, Alexander Trochi
and other giants of the poetry world performing to a packed Royal
Albert Hall and in the process giving birth to what became the
underground art movement of the 60's.
The original cut featured more of Brian Jones and in a move that may have started his marginalisation within the group Oldham had his footage trimmed and some footage from a London gig that showed the band being mobbed on stage inserted. This footage also featured in Whiteheads "Tonight lets make love in London". Oldham also inserted some music from the "Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra" doing some Stones tracks.
The rights to the film and its soundtrack became confused when the band became managed by Alan Klein and was completely unavailable for some years. A version released on video in the UK had all of the original music replaced by soundalikes.
My favourite scene is a drunken Mick Jagger doing an Elvis impersonation and a surreal moment when he poses for some snaps with an unidentified family. Also funny but sad is the moment Brian Jones is lost for words when Whitehead asks him to define the word "surealism".
I viewed a bootleg copy of "Charlie Is My Darling" forty five years after it was originally filmed. As much as Brian Epstein was the fifth Beatle, Andrew Loog Oldham was the sixth Stone. Andrew Loog, in 1965 liner notes heralded this music as "New groovies...abound to the sound of the Rolling Stones." Whereas fifth Beatle Brian Epstein was, brilliant/erudite/invisible, sixth Stone Andrew was a pure jabberwocky genius. "Charlie Is My Darling" is the anti-Christing of "Hard Day's Night." Pardon my excessive numeralizing, but, in 1966, Andrew Loog prominently featured First Stone Brian Jones when he/Charlie/Bill/Keith/Mick collectively the Rolling Stoneswere mere Rolling Pebbles. For any Stone fan who was their from that infancy...This rockumentary is a must see!
Great to finally see this almost legendary "fly on the wall"
documentary on the Stones, before the booze, drugs and other excesses
kicked in. Caught in mid '65 somewhere between "Satisfaction" and "Get
Off Of My Cloud", we see at first hand the mayhem which often beset
their gigs at the time with stage invasions seemingly the norm,
interestingly with apparently more guys than girls as the main
Off-stage, the band are relaxed and irreverent with no signs of the tensions which would befall them later. All are well-spoken, Jagger, unsurprisingly, given the most to say, which he does perceptively and intelligently, Brian Jones discusses the transience of fame, Bill Wyman deprecates his own musicianship, Keith, as you'd expect, is seriously into the music, while the darling of the title would simply rather be at home with his wife.
There's interesting footage of Jagger, Richard and manager at the time Andrew Loog-Oldham goofing around a piano, spoofing the Beatles and Presley and other backstage glimpses as well as the obligatory fan interviews with young and old, some for and some against the band. On the whole the band we see here is well-behaved and orderly with none of the crazy over-the-top madness which later overtook them, indeed at one point Oldham and Jagger even irreverently gate-crash a young couple's wedding.
The music scenes are excellent, even with the frenzied screaming of the fans, the band sound great with Jagger in top, elastic form.
Even though it often looks like a vintage home-movie, this short film is a lively curio, with none of the pretensions of say Bob Dylan's "Don't Look Back" from a year or so later.
An illuminating and entertaining music documentary.
Covers the Rolling Stones' 1965 tour of Ireland. Features concert footage, backstage and hotel scenes and interviews with the band. At the time the Stones were still more a blues/R&B band, rather than the rock superstars they would later become. All other Stones films I have seen were in the rock days, and there's a difference.
Here the Stones, though obviously big in the music world - just see the fans adoration, especially from the young girls - seem to still have a degree of innocence and are almost shocked at how popular they are. They still don't really think their fame and popularity are permanent. There's almost a lack of self-confidence on their part, especially from Charlie Watts.
Also interesting to see that some of the standout Stones features are already there. Most particularly, Jagger's stage performance is all movement, swagger and bravado - that came early. Plus you see the natural musical ability of Keith Richard(s) and the shyness of Charlie Watts.
The interviews, particularly with Jagger, are quite illuminating. You can see they are not addle-brained louts, but young men who think about their art, what has come before and where it is going.
A relatively unique Stones experience.
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