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Performance [DVD] [2004]

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Performance [DVD] [2004] + If.... [1968] [DVD] + Blow Up [DVD] [1966]
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Product details

  • Actors: James Fox, Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg, Michelle Breton, Stanley Meadows
  • Directors: Donald Cammell, Nicolas Roeg
  • Format: PAL, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, English, Dutch
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Mar 2007
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000KCI92E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,136 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

A young gangster (James Fox) seeks refuge from the mob in a basement belonging to a fading rock star (Mick Jagger). After taking a trip, he begins to cross dress and experiment with his sexuality. The directorial debut of Nicolas Roeg explores both the liberating impulses and threat of anarchy which provided the twin motors of the 'Swinging Sixties'.


"I like that. Turn it up!" Performance is the Altamont of '60s cinema; psychedelic and hallucinatory, decadent and depraved, polymorphous-perverse. And you can dance to it! Melding the sex, drugs, and rock & roll ethos of swinging '60s London with the gangster film, Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell's genre-bending cult classic is so mind blowing that star James Fox did not act in a film again for nearly a decade. Fox stars as Chas, an "out of date" enforcer for crime kingpin Harry Flowers. Chas is a "nutcase," who likes "a little cavort," but when he kills someone he wasn't supposed to, he is forced to go on the run. He takes refuge in a basement room belonging to Turner (Mick Jagger), a former rock star who has "lost his demon" and now lives as a recluse in his dilapidated house with his secretary/lover, Pherber (Anita Pallenberg, who was Rolling Stones bandmate Keith Richards' girlfriend at the time), and an androgynous French girl (Michele Breton). They enjoy a little cavorting themselves and in these drug-strewn surroundings, worlds collide and identities merge. "I know who I am," Chas tells Harry early on. He (and viewers) will become less sure as Performance unfolds.

Completed in 1968 but shelved for two years, Performance was originally rated X and has been redesignated R. But it's still strong, potent stuff. With its elliptical editing, mirror images, and echoed dialogue that bridges the two worlds, Performance may not become clearer with repeat viewings, but there are fresh discoveries to be made each time. The killer soundtrack features Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, rap revolutionaries the Last Poets, and Jagger's own astounding "Memo from Turner." "I know a thing of two about performing, my boy," Turner tells Chas at one point. "The only performance that makes it... that makes it all the way, is the one that achieves madness." Performance makes it all the way. As Roeg is quoted in a featurette produced for this DVD, "After all this time, its mystery is part of its magic and attraction." --Donald Liebenson

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Paul Mitchell on 15 Mar 2007
Format: DVD
Well I am delighted to say that this version is a DVD master from the 2005 BFI print of the movie with all the original cast dialogue intact. Johnny Shannon (Harry Flowers), John Bindon (Moody), Laraine Wickens (Lorraine) whose original voices had all been dubbed in the only commercially available video versions up to now (even those broadcast by all the major TV networks in the past 20 years) have been restored. I would like to thank Warner Brothers Home Video team in London with whom I have been campaigning since 2005, for making sure that Warner Bros in Burbank didn't just release the US VHS version on DVD which was what was going to happen. Also for adding the very informative documentary feature included on the disc. For everyone who has been waiting for this, here it is. For those of you who haven't seen it but love film, buy it. This is probably the best British movie ever made. And now down to under a fiver. Criminally cheap. Every English film lover should own this so buy it for someone you love!
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By SJC on 17 Mar 2007
Format: DVD
Stunned to realise that, after many, many years, Performance has finally come out on DVD - and not just any old version: the real, "proper", correct, undubbed version... I used to see this film regularly years ago.... early 70's... The Paris Pullman, The Electric Cinema and The Essential in London... Happy days. Then it disappeared, other than in the criminally dubbed version available previously on VHS. In about 1997 Alex Cox was going to show Performance as part of a series he was running on - I think - BBC2. A friend of mine and I called the Beeb and warned them that that the version they were likely to be about to show was the tarnished version. Give Alex C his due, they took it seriously and did some excellent work to try as far as possible to link an original soundtrack with the visuals. However, even here they missed a couple of the crass overdubs, but a very creditable 9 out of 10 for trying. This version? It has gone straight to 11 out of 10. Loads more could have been done as regards "extras".... interviews with Jagger, Fox, Johnny Shannon (if he's still around), Marianne Faithfull who was not in the movie but who has occasionally spoken about the film since then... Still, the slim extras at least include Sandy (Producer) Lieberson telling the story of the showing of the original cut to Warner Bros execs and their wives and concubines... hilarious! Now that is one showing I'd have loved to have attended!

And, by the way, this is Cammell's film, not Roeg's. Roeg has, over the years, sought from time to time to distance himself from Performance. His photography is very, very good, but the whole philosophy, style, presentation, characterisation is strictly Cammell. The greatest British film since Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger rode the range.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Fletcher on 31 Jan 2004
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Its almost easier to define this film negatively - that is by what it is not: It's not a gangster film; it's not a film about rock stars in the London of the 'swinging sixties'; it's not social realism and it's not a vehicle for any of the 'celebrities' who just happen to appear in it's cast.
This film is a beautifully constructed work of art that transcends narrow classification, with a narrative that challenges our very perception of ourselves as unitary beings in a space-time universe; it forces us to ask questions about our psychic continuity and questions our 'common sense' notions of self/other.
How does it do this? well Performance achieves it's goals through a dazzling display of psychedelic and mythical symbolism - the sheer creative power of which carries the film beyond it's genre, and the veiwer beyond the limitataions of his or hers rational mind.
When we compare this visionary work to the current productions from Hollywood and elsewhere it is like receiving a message from another universe! There is no comparison. This is a unique work. Just don't expect a hollywood ending. This film is an enigma.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Vodkabite on 31 Oct 2008
Format: DVD
Performance has always been a highly underated film designated to cult status and really only of interest to Rolling Stones fans. And for the most part considered simply as "wierd" by anyone else who might be changing channels, the rare occasions it's shown on TV. But there is certainly potential for a great film in its' concepts and with the ideas it explores. The themes of cross gender and mixing of identity is way ahead of it's time. And if they'd had the technology we have today this would have worked very successfully. The sound track which includes music by Ry Cooder and others is really excellent, Memo from Turner is also a rare treat, not only one of the first music videos that was made, but probably the best song Mick Jagger ever wrote and performed solo.

James Fox is brilliant and utterly convincing as violent gangster Chas Delvin. The first part of the film is fast paced showing Chas's fall from grace in his gangland underworld. The second part where he hides in Turner's Mansion feels like your dreaming in slow motion. The lighting and the stage sets of Turner's mansion is pure genius, warm, exotic and lavish, but with seeds of decay ever rotting amongst it's midst. Mick Jagger who's not particularly known for his acting, comes across well mostly as the reclusive rock star Turner, particularly in his scenes with James Fox. Anita Pallenburg as Ferber, Turner's german long term amour is perserved in time here as the exotic beauty and charismatic force of nature she truly was. The strange menage-a-trois they live in with Lucy a frail boyish french girl, played by Michele Breton, is shown as refreshing and uncomplicated. Rather than complex, shallow, seedy and exploitative as it might have been.
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