6.9/10
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Performance (1970)

A violent gangster seeks refuge from the mob in the Bohemian home of a former rock star.

Writer:

Donald Cammell
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Fox ... Chas
Mick Jagger ... Turner
Anita Pallenberg ... Pherber
Michèle Breton Michèle Breton ... Lucy (as Michele Breton)
Ann Sidney Ann Sidney ... Dana
John Bindon ... Moody
Stanley Meadows ... Rosebloom
Allan Cuthbertson ... The Lawyer
Anthony Morton Anthony Morton ... Dennis (as Antony Morton)
Johnny Shannon Johnny Shannon ... Harry Flowers
Anthony Valentine ... Joey Maddocks
Kenneth Colley ... Tony Farrell (as Ken Colley)
John Sterland ... The Chauffeur
Laraine Wickens Laraine Wickens ... Lorraine
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Storyline

Chas, a violent and psychotic East London gangster needs a place to lie low after a hit that should never have been carried out. He finds the perfect cover in the form of guest house run by the mysterious Mr. Turner, a one-time rock superstar, who is looking for the right spark to rekindle his faded talent. Written by Brad Jackson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This film is about madness. And sanity. Fantasy. And reality. Death. And life. Vice. And versa. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug material and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 September 1970 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Performance See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Goodtimes Enterprises See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White | Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of the audience walked out of the first preview screening. The release was delayed for two years while it was re-edited three times. Editor Frank Mazzola used montage of images and time jumps which later became his trademark style. See more »

Quotes

[on the intercom outside as Chas rings the front door]
Pherber: "Leave a message after the beep. Beep, beep, BEEP!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 1997 Warner Home Video 'Maverick Directors' Widescreen PAL-VHS edition of 'Performance' (Cat. No: S015399) and the 2007 Region 2 DVD (DY11687) feature shots not featured in previous "X" cuts (such as 1981 Warner Home Video PAL-VHS WEV 61131). These appear while Chas (Fox) is being whipped by Joey Maddocks (Valentine), S015399 and DY11687 feature a reverie while Chas loses consciousness. This is a montage of shots of boxers. Chas (Fox) shoots Joey (Valentine), who is now seen, unlike in previous versions, to rise from the bed and mutter something at Chas's feet to which he replies 'You're dead Joey'. Directly after, Fox has another newly featured line in which he tells the remaining hood (Murray) to 'Get out of my flat'. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nicolas Roeg, Director (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Performance
Performed by Merry Clayton
See more »

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User Reviews

 
You shoot too much of that s***, Pherber.
17 February 2004 | by donduttonSee all my reviews

This film operates on multiple levels and in cultures that we barely knew existed in 1970. The East End London mobster culture being one and the London counter-culture of drugs and music another. To further lend a surreal air, Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammel (who co-directed the film) present metaphors and psychological homologies- sadism, homosexuality, hierarchy in gangs and organizations- all stemming from central psychological needs for power and dominance combined with and expressed through sexuality. The first half of the film seems to anticipate Guy Ritchie- a glimpse into Cockney gangsters and "poofs" and then, Chas steps into Turner's lair and the film alters along with our consciousness. Suddenly, underneath the gangster/rockstar theme another, more deeply embedded theme emerges about identity and the part of others that we share in common(the deeper motivations and identities). Turner and Chas sense it in each other's "performance", all four main characters (arranged on a sexual continuum from the very female Pherber through 2 personae of androgyny to the very male Chas) explore their other parts as when Pherber puts a mirror, reflecting her breast on Chas. The shared motivational part comes from the "performance" of violence or art that Chas and Turner are fascinated by in each other. Add in some very strange camera angles and you have one of the very few films that ever did the impossible- represented altered consciousness to an audience (mainly) in straight consciousness. That last part depended on what year you saw it in theatres. In all, a very profound movie. Donald Cammell was a genius who never got his proper due.


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