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Performance [VHS] (1970)

James Fox , Mick Jagger , Nicolas Roeg , Donald Cammell  |  X |  VHS Tape
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Fox, Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg, Michèle Breton, Ann Sidney
  • Directors: Nicolas Roeg, Donald Cammell
  • Writers: Anita Pallenberg, Donald Cammell
  • Producers: David Cammell, Sanford Lieberson
  • Format: Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: X (Mature Audiences Only)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: March 24, 1995
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6300269094
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,491 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


This extraordinary 1970 British film marked the directorial debut of cinematographer Nicolas Roeg (working with Donald Cammell). James Fox portrays a London gangster who has to hide away for awhile and ends up staying with a fading rock star (Mick Jagger). The latter recognizes something of his old, daring self in the violent criminal, and after pushing open the boundaries of the hood's experience with psychedelics, the two men begin to intertwine as one. The film is an exciting pool of ideas about real and presumed power, about the mysteries of "performance" as a pressing outward toward an abandonment of identity and embrace of revelation. Beneath it all, however, is Roeg and Cammell's suspicion that the worlds of these two men--pop shaman and underworld soldier--are not dissimilar in their self-serving goals. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Donald Cammell
"If Performance does not upset audiences," he explained, "then it is nothing."
My friend Neil and I have been waiting for some time to see this film at the cinema. It hasn't been widely available on video for some time and has not yet been released on DVD.
So we were overjoyed to see it was being shown at the Electric Cinema a wonderful recently revamped cinema in Notting Hill Gate, not a hundred yards from Powis Square, one of the main locations in the film.
Performance was financed by Warner Brothers in the late 60's, though it was not released for two years after its completion due to WB demanding recuts and probably hoping the whole sordid little film would be forgotten about.
Thankfully it wasn't, and has over the years become something important and special to many people.
Performance starts as a seemingly straightforward East end gangster film, typical of the period. However when Chas, played to perfection by James Fox, takes refuge in the bohemian lair that is Turners (Jagger) Powis Square townhouse, the pace and the feel of the film change dramatically.
Turner is a retired rock icon who is wallowing in in a filthy corner of his psyche while he decides whether to try and recapture his mojo or continue his hermit like existence. However the hermit tag only applies to Turners lack of contact with fresh air, not many hermits have two pretty free spirits in the form of Pherber (Anita Pallenberg ) and Lucy (Michele Breton) roaming naked around their self imposed prisons.
Pallenberg is the wild blonde who was probably didn't find it too hard to get into character, at the time of filming she was actually Keith Richards's girlfriend, and tales of a jealous Richards watching over the set are abound.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N 'Roll through a glass darkly June 20, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Performance, Donald Cammell and Nicholas Roeg's disturbing study of what happens when two distinct personalities clash, remains one of cinema's great cult oddities. The plot, brilliantly straight forward, follows Chas, a London gangster (played with extraordinary verve by James Fox) who is forced to take refuge in the house of a reclusive, burned out pop star and his two girlfriends, after a botched gangland killing. Chas, unable to escape Turner, the decadent pop star, played by Mick Jagger (sensational in his first screen appearance) undergoes a terrifying transformation from a vicious thug to a sedated trance like state, a child lost in the wilderness of mind expanding drugs, orchestrated by the manipulative Turner who has dangerous games on his mind... As straight forward as that, but not quite as Performance is loaded with dark complex themes of identity and control, allusions to sado-masochistic sex and bisexuality, and an intricate web of symbolism. The making of the film is equally legendary, the disastrous production was swamped in dangerous drugs, some real life gangsters and sinister black magic courtesy of maverick underground film maker Kenneth Anger, who was behind the scenes during the troubled shoot. Visually, the film is stunning, lensed by cinematographer Nicolas Roeg and contains a veritable kaleidoscope of unforgettable images like a zoom that follows a bullet through someone's brain. And Jagger's song "Memo from Turner" is hugely exciting.
Incidentally, one scene in the film has James Fox's character antagonises Jagger with the line "you'll look funny when you're fifty".31 years later, this seems strangely prophetic. In a word - essential.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal psychadelic nightmare August 23, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
One of the most astonishing movies of all time. In a nutshell, 'Performance' tells the story of London gangster Chas Delvin (James Fox), on the run from his old associates for an unauthorised murder. He hides out in the house of reclusive rock star Turner (Mick Jagger), who introduces Delvin to his bizarre world of sex, drugs, black magic and rock n' roll. The movie is packed with amazing performances all round, particularly from James Fox. The script by Donald Cammell is great and the direction by Cammell & Nicolas Roeg is superb. While obviously a product of the sixties the film has aged fairly well. It raises interesting and timeless questions about identity and duality. This film is very strange and very graphic. It does not make much sense at first, in fact it is a movie which demands to be seen more than once. Certainly once you see this movie it will stay with you.
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86 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Film That Explains The Legend Of The Rolling Stones October 25, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This is one film where the legend does not obscure the brilliance of the plot, the direction of the scenes, and the players....the players with the famous goings on inside and outside the shoot. The cast was not only acting but actually doing the drugs and sex portrayed on the screen. The film pretty much destroyed everyone who worked on it except Mick and Keith and the Stones. Anita Palenberg was incoherent for years afterwards, James Fox underwent a religious experience and ceased acting for a decade, one actor became a heroin dealer, another committed suicide, another committed murder and became a junkie before he died young. Stephen Davis (in his book "Old Gods Almost Dead") says that when the original Cammell and Roeg print was shown to the Warner executives, one's wife vomited and the whole audience left the screening room before the film ended. The true legend of the rock hard, satanic Rolling Stones was born when the band survived both Performance and the only live murder ever included in a movie during the Altamont Festival (shown in the film "Gimme Shelter").
While you watch the film, remember that Keith Richards is waiting outside in his Bentley (writing You Got The Silver) while Anita (his girlfriend) seduces Mick (his best friend) for real on the closed set. The way I heard the story, when Cammell called the scene, to the amazement of the crew, they kept going through orgasm. Keith refused to give Cammell the newly recorded Let It Bleed songs for the soundtrack because of all this.....he told friends he knew that if he was on the set and saw Mick, the Stones would have been history....but the band was his life so he just waited it all out.
The studio shut down production and then refused to release the censored film for several years.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 days ago by mikiej
5.0 out of 5 stars still a great and underrated film
Had not seen it for years...still a great and underrated film.
Published 7 days ago by Brett4
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Mick did an admirable job playing an artist.
Published 8 days ago by Steve Polonis
5.0 out of 5 stars DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?
From an artistic point of view, one of the greatest films ever made. Donald Cammell's promise and vision endure in this tale of merging identities that prefigured cultural... Read more
Published 27 days ago by P. Fernandez Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY ON BLURAY
This icredibly strange great film finally got it's due on bluray.
Published 2 months ago by Keith E. Hunsucker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Michael Bolan
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Blu-ray transfer but why the awful dubbing?!
I've just compared the early office scene where Harry Flowers (played by Johnny Shannon) plans to have the betting shop owned by Joey Maddocks (Anthony Valentine) vandalised so as... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Robert
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing film, but the BluRay's soundtrack is spoilt by dubbing!
'Performance' is a film that may not be to everybody's taste, but I'm one of those who regard it as an absolute classic. Read more
Published 4 months ago by feline1
2.0 out of 5 stars Performance no standing ovation
I love this movie, however the transfer to blu ray was horrible. The sound was improved but the picture quality at best was no better than the dvd copy I own. Read more
Published 5 months ago by PROFXM27
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Gem
So you like Snatch, you like Lock Stock, Layer Cake, and all the contemporary Brit crime films. Maybe you watched the original 'Get Carter' and thought you knew something about the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by James Coyne
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