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Customer Review

91 of 110 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
This review is from: Performance [VHS] (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. Stephen Davis says Cammell edited the footage of Mick and Anita into a 30 min blue movie that later won awards at an Amsterdam porno film festival. The other story that tops this is that even Cammell told Mick the original lyrics to Memo From Turner would have to be rewritten (there was a reference to performing oral sex on policemen) but with Keith refusing to help, there was no way to record new instrumental tracks for the revised lyrics. They ended up just cutting out the offending parts.
The film mirrors this life....schizophrenia on parade as gangster Chas Devlin meets and merges with rock star Turner in a real-life performance that includes nearly every legally-filmable decadence invented. Oh and for Stones fans - don't miss the musical moment when Mick runs through a Robert Johnson tune for you. Just make sure you have a strong stomach and realize what you are doing when you press the start button!
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 3, 2006, 7:48:07 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 3, 2006, 8:05:20 PM PST
Rackon says:
Warner Brothers did release Performance, albeit in a very limited fashion, within about a year and a half of its torturous completion.

I saw it during its short run in Indianapolis circa 1970 at an "Adult" cinema - Warners had dumped Performance onto the exploitation market assuming (probably correctly) that major cinema chains wouldn't touch it.

I was 17 years old when I first saw Performance and it was the first "X" rated movie I ever saw. It was a life-changing experience for me and I became an instant fan of Donald Cammell and especially of Nic Roeg, who was hardly destroyed by the experience: he went on to direct Walkabbout, Don't Look Now, The Man Who Fell To Earth and other notable films...and he married Teresa Russell (not too shaggy).

Performance became a staple at film schools and was popular in repertory and on the midnight movie circuit during the 1970s. I saw it numerous times in Chicago whilst attending the Art Institute. As other posters noted, Performance influenced many filmmakers.

I hope the DVD does Performance proud and contains the British version - the VHS is hardly worthy of this film.

Posted on Feb 11, 2007, 6:45:08 PM PST
well.........having performed "Memo From Turner," myself, more than 1000 times since getting the music in 1973, the lyric> (there was a reference to performing oral sex on policemen) actually says, "'re the great grey man whose daughter licks policemans' buttons clean." Open to interpretation, that, really...And why is it so necessary to "have a strong stomach" while Mick is pretending to be playing "Come On In My Kitchen?" Sure, he does look brazenly cool, but it was Ry Cooder actually doing the guitar (read the credits.) And you can actually hear Cooder do a bottleneck-slide lick after Mick ceases "playing."

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 21, 2007, 9:54:11 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 21, 2007, 9:54:37 AM PDT]
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Location: Ada, MI United States

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