March 15, 2006
A bit of stick
According to the Performance page at Wikipedia, Warner Bros financed the movie "hoping it could become a Rolling Stones equivalent to Beatles' A Hard Day's Night. They apparently did so without reading a word of Donald Cammell's script, as the explicit violence, sex and use of drugs sparked an outrage when the film was shown to Warner executives. Performance was vaulted for years, and only after several recuts and changes in Warner's administration did it get a theatrical release."
Since I've never seen the entire film, I rely on this site for a presumably excellent synopsis:
"Shot in the summer and autumn of 1968, PERFORMANCE is a mesmerizing portrait of late 60s London, offering a potent mixture of gangland violence, rock 'n' roll decadence, sex and drugs. James Fox plays Chas, a brutal, Krays-type gangster on the run both from the police and from his own associates. While waiting to escape abroad, he seeks refuge in the Notting Hill mansion of a reclusive, burnt-out rock star (Mick Jagger) who lives there with his girlfriend (Anita Pallenberg) and a young French girl (Michèle Breton). In the words of the original poster: 'This film is about madness. And sanity. Fantasy. And reality. Death. And life. Vice. And versa.'"
In other words, it's very strange.
A side note about Anita Pallenberg:
She entered the world of the Rolling Stones first as Brian Jones' bird.
Then she moved up to Keith Richards, and was his "common-law wife" from 1967 to 1977. She is rumored to have had a "brief affair" with Jagger during the filming of Performance. Anita got around.
I can't imagine how it ever could have been made in to even a raunchy Stones version of A Hard Day's Night. In this clip of Performance from 25x5: The Continuing Adventures of the Rolling Stones, Mick sounds a little like a droog from A Clockwork Orange. I guess Anthony Burgess based them slightly on the Teddy Boy.
Jagger was performing "Memo From Turner" in that bizarre scene.
It's available on VHS, and the soundtrack is on CD. I'm sure you can't wait to get both as soon as you possibly can! Right?!? Hello?...