"KIT LAMBERT and CHRIS STAMP, aspiring filmmakers, set out to make a cinema vérité documentary about the mod world of rock and roll, but sidetracked instead into managing and developing the sonic powerhouse that came to be called THE WHO.", From Sony Classics. Click through for my review for this bold documentary.
Director James D. Cooper has created a look into the duo that would find and cultivate one of the greatest bands, The Who. Two very different men who's journey wouldn't have been complete without the other. Both men have sadly passed away, but their epic tale is now ready for you eyes and ears. Pete Townshend talks about the impact the duo had on his life and his musical career.
The documentary starts out disjointed and even a bit confusing. You're not truly sure where this film will take you, and that is why it's so darn good. These two gents sure as hell didn't know where they were going when they convinced a no-name band of "ugly" fellas to become their inspiration for a simple film project. Who knew we'd end up with THE WHO!
There are three elements of the film I'll point to as reason for you to see this documentary.
3. The Mystery of Kit Lambert:
Throughout this film the enigma of this wealthy gay man is utterly captivating. We know he liked to smoke cigarettes ALL OF THE TIME. We know he had a real ear for musical structure. We know he partnered with Chris Stamp to manager one of the greatest bands. But so much of Kit's life and death are a real mystery. It's amazing how little insight we garnered for his motives from the men who were his friends and even lived with the man. Pete Townshend's stories of how he'd see a new young boy with Kit every other morning are fascinating. The fact that the members of the Who still question Chris and Kit's relationship is amazing. Chris' memories of Kit are cloudy and even contradictory at times. In the end, drugs may be a real big reason in why Kit's legacy is so cloudy. Overall though the figure that was Kit Lambert is a mesmerizing one.
2. Terence Stamp has a Little Brother:
To hear Terence Stamp explain how he helped give his little brother Chris his first push is heartwarming and intriguing. Chris Stamp must have been one wild ass kid for his big brother to have to set him straight. Throughout the film the bold nature of Chris is really inspiring. He bs'd his way through everything and still made things happen. But the really powerful moments of the film are the aged Chris remembering the sorrowful end to the working relationship with The Who. Shepperton Studios plays a pivotal role in the partnership of Chris and Kit, as well as the financial success of The Who. But the fact that it's also the place in which Chris Stamp had to sign away his role as Manager for The Who is utterly heartbreaking. The film could have just kept showing all the crazy ideas Chris and Kit had, but to see their demise was really moving.
1. The Who:
To see the rise of such a beloved group is fascinating. These handpick lads would battle each other to super success and they are still chugging along (well Roger and Pete). The battles between the guys are really amazing to witness. The inner struggle of who is the real "leader" of the band was incredible to witness. Cooper utilized a group of quality interviews and awesome achieve footage to show the reality behind The Who. I just wish we'd gotten a little more information about bassist John Entwistle. He was a musical genius, but even in this film he is a real mystery. His life seems like a subject waiting to be told. In the end you'll leave this film learning so much more about The Who, but also amazed at how much more is still left a mystery. Sadly age and death are robbing us of all the reality behind this band.
The Who is celebrating it's 50th year anniversary with a special tour (just stopped in Dallas this past week). And my favorite rocker, Eddie Vedder, is joining them for a few special dates. Here is the famous quote from 2008 Rolling Stone interview Eddie did.
The Who “changed my whole world,” adding, “It’s a big part of why I get to do what I do.”
Anyone that's seen Pearl Jam or Eddie live knows of their leaning on Baba O’Riley” as well as “Love Reign O’er Me.” to end their shows can understand the power behind the band that gave us those great songs. The Who are a giant band in the Rock n' Roll lexicon. Lambert & Stamp is the unique look into the men that found, cultivated and released this amazing band (and other great bands) to our musical conscious. I'll leave you with this great moment from the band. Basically this explain why my review is show disjointed. Who can explain THE WHO.
The documentary is out now. For more information go, here.