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Aspiring filmmakers Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert set out to find a subject for their underground movie, one that will reflect the way it feels to be young and dissatisfied in postwar London. This unlikely partnership of two men from vastly different backgrounds was inspired by the burgeoning youth culture of the early 1960s. Lambert and Stamp searched for months and finally found in a band called the High Numbers a rebellious restlessness that was just what they were looking for. Abandoning their plans to make a film, they instead decided to mentor and manage this group, which evolved into the iconic band known as the Who. The result was rock 'n' roll history.Written by
Sundance Film Festival
Cool doc: Managers who knew nothing about music but a heck of a lot about marketing.
Who are The Who? They're Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. Of course, you first come up with the names Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey because they actually play that wickedly-good rock. However the first two names in this essay are the founders of The Who, filmmakers with a dream to make a rock documentary but sidetracked into managing one of the best rock bands ever.
Director James D. Cooper hits the right notes: plenty of talking head from handsome, articulate Chris Stamp (brother of famous Terence, who appears with commentary), entertaining clips from the band's early years, and a thriller of a break up story (almost required of all rock band stories, fact or fiction). Never could anyone be bored with such a complex, fascinating rags-to-riches tale.
Pete Townshend, not much to look at as a young man but distinguished now with a naughty glint, gives as much as Stamp, especially when we try to understand the dynamic that led to the breakup. Although the posh Kit Lambert, whose dad was Constant Lambert the maestro, was an intrepid entrepreneur, he pushed himself to early death with cigs and drugs. During the growth times, however, he pushed the band into unknown territory. As did the better thinker, Stamp.
Although Kit Lambert died before the making of this doc, he is so carefully edited in as to make it seem he was here all the time. Stamp is especially effective as we are taken through the creation of the mega-hit rock musical Tommy and the release of Lambert & Stamp from the organization. The Who buying Shepperton Studios, where the founders met, is a nice piece of irony. Lambert's brainy discussion of class and youth with its manifestation in the "mod" era directed by the youth of London elevates the documentary from curiosity to demanding to be heard to understanding the wild youth of London.
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