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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
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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:

See them all in a film about fantasy. And reality. 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:

£750,000 (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

Joey Maddocks: Listen, do you remember Mick? Remember?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Warner DVD is missing the line "Here's to Old England." in the 'Memo From Turner' scene. The Warner Archive Blu-ray features the missing line, but as a newly mixed correction to the mix, rather than as a fluid part of the sound mix as it was originally. The Blu-ray also reinstates the dubbing of London accents that previous releases rectified. Characters are dubbed in all their scenes prior to the phone call from Chas (Fox) to Harry (Shannon) in the bedroom. The bedroom scene and the remainder of the film features the original audio performances. Laraine Wickens thus escapes dubbing altogether as her scenes are all after the bedroom scene. See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood U.K.: The Last Wave (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Performance
Performed by Merry Clayton
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sex and violence in swinging London!
3 April 2000 | by James.S.DaviesSee all my reviews

Visually compelling and disturbing look at two diverse sides of 1960s London; the criminal underworld and hippie culture, respectively symbolised by Fox's Chas, the wayward gangster, and Jagger's Turner, a semi-retired bisexual rock musician.

It's Chas' world we are first introduced to during a highly charged furiously paced scene of gangland violence. It soon becomes clear to us that he is not only an outcast to society but also dangerously individual within his own mob circle. On the run from both the law and the mob he takes refuge in a Notting Hill home which he finds is occupied by Turner, his junkie girlfriend, Pherber, and her French lover, Lucy. Tunrer becomes infatuated with Chas' violent charisma and his "vital energy" he himself feels he has lost.

As the title suggests the film is all about performances. Chas is initiated into Turner's underground world of drug experimentation and gender bending. Turner's name in itself is symbolic of the way he tries to play with and turn Chas' psyche around. It is ultimately the "performance" of Turner which brings the two worlds together, as he poses as Chas' mobster boss, Harry Flowers, in a scene shot similarly to a modern day music video.

Some critics had felt the film lost its way once Chas entered Turner's world. Yet surely such disorientation is indicative of how the film successfully explores Chas' own uneasiness in confronting his own subconscious in an alien atmosphere. The film is full of visual flourishes as one might expect from Roeg, who had been cinemaphotographer on films such as 'Fahrenheit 451'. Fox is mesmerising playing out the evolving identities of Chas, whilst Jagger's persona is exhibited to its full potential. Roeg was again to explore the theme of alienation using a rock star (this time David Bowie) in a more literal sense in his landmark science fiction film 'The Man Who Fell To Earth'.


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