69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2007
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!
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2007
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.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2004
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2007
I can't imagine for a single minute that anyone would be buying this DVD if they hadn't first seen the movie, so if you're reading this you probably know what it's all about. Psychadelic cool and London Gangster cool meet in a movie with a story, and with some incredibly beautiful and totally believable characters. It's maybe twenty years since I first saw this but it still makes me want to take a can of black spray paint to my bedroom walls and act so aloof that exquisite foreign women can't resist my rock star charms. It does what a good movie should, it removes you from your humdrum existence and transports you the other world that you always thought you belonged to. Wonderful.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2004
It was the film that made me love films. I first saw it at a cinema after a beautiful night of hedonism (part of an all-nighter in Bristol; U.K), and it was screened at about 5.00am. Later that day, I saw Jagger and co. at Bristol football ground.
I don't think I can add much more to some of the eloquent reviews already posted. I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of it, and have lost count ( 20+?) of the times I have seen it.
If only the full cut had been released.
If I waxed lyrical about it, I wouldn't know where to stop.
Just two points. Read Nabokov's "Despair", as it was being read by both Cammell and Roeg whilst they were filming it. The novel connects with the film. Also : a companion piece to this masterpiece is "The Servant", in which James Fox also appears.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
It has taken too long, but Performance has at last made it to DVD. I have watched and enjoyed this film so often in the late showings on the BBC and have sometimes been enraged at the number of adverts interrupting it when on ITV or Channel 4. Utterly insulting to this extraordinary film.
James Fox gives a tumultuous performance as Chas, stuck in his dead end job as a mobster's hardnut. Mick Jagger plays himself - rock star stuck in his own mire of peculiar cliches. Anita Pallenburg supplies a chillingly effective portrayal of a 'partner' for Jagger's Turner (dodgy mushrooms and an awful lot of flesh).
To add to the stunning visuals, there is a killer soundtrack composed and arranged mainly by Jack Nitzche and Randy Newman. The set piece 'Memo from Turner' is an undoubted highlight, and Merry Clayton (famed for her vocals on 'Gimme Shelter') puts in more stunning blues wailing and vocalise. Guitar fans can pick out Ry Cooder and Keith Richards. And the sound of Randy Newman rocking out at the start and end of the film is to be relished.
All in all, a terrific sonic and visual feast. Enjoy!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2014
Please be aware the above rating is for the Blu Ray release and NOT the film itself!
I was really excited when I saw this was available on Blu Ray and immediately ordered it. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that Warners have used the US master that features some truly awful dubbing that completely wrecks the early part of the movie.
The UK DVD had the correct audio track that kept Johnny Shannons', John Bindons' and Stanley Meadows' proper voices. This Blu Ray does not and its painfully obvious. Even more curiously, in a later scene in the bedroom of Harry Flowers (Shannons' character) it appears to revert back to the correct audio!
This is a big disappointment as the picture and sound are both very good on this release and of course the film is one that if you're a fan of classic British movies you have to see. Its certainly a film that divides opinion, eliciting either gushing praise or downright hatred depending on who you speak to. Personally I love it because it challenges you with every viewing.
I would advise, however, that you read up on the movie first. There are so many subliminal references and flash frames hidden in the film that coming to it cold is not recommended.
Of course, you may still find it pretentious and too pleased with its own cleverness or you will relish the unconventional nature and strange atmosphere that pervades the entire movie, right down to the head-scratching ending. Make sure you get the right version though.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2014
One of the great all time "cult" movies,this still potent mix of gangsters,drugs,bi-sexuality and identity works on many levels, with its treasure trove of literary references,coupled with a great visual "psychedelic"style superbly realised by Nic Roeg, one of the great British cinematographers.Hugely controversial in its day,it appalled the Warner Bros executives,who were not keen to release it at all! if it had not been for Mick Jagger,who,in the role of Turner,retired rock star turned recluse was hugely anticipated both by the music and "underground" press at the time. So it was eventually released,substantially cut,due to outrage,not only from the studio but also the censor. It was an immediate "cult" hit,powerful and violent.with its ambiguous sexuality and psychedelic references,featuring a great soundtrack,Jagger singing "Memo from Turner",almost a prototype music video. also Ry Cooder's first contribution to a soundtrack. Co Directed by Roeg and Donald Cammell "Performance" remains an absolute classic,this Blu-Ray version is very good,one of the less"cut" versions.Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This groundbreaking 1970 film jointly (debut) directed by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg attracted controversy pretty much from the word go. Not only did the explicitness of its subject matter of sex, drugs and (to a lesser extent) rock n' roll cause the film significant problems, both pre- (in terms of getting the film made) and post-(in terms of censorship) production, but the question of who wielded ultimate 'artistic control' over the released film was also the subject of some recrimination, following the film's post-production edit. For me, Performance is very much a mixed bag - in effect two films in one, the first a brilliantly visceral gangland drama, the second a meandering, hallucinatory, drug-fuelled haze on the subject of identity. Nevertheless, the film's overall level of visual innovation (primarily courtesy of Roeg) is outstanding, making it one of the most original films of its era.
Indeed, the level of visual innovation is immediately apparent even from the film's credits sequence, which cleverly intercuts a scene of gangster Chas' (an outstanding James Fox, cast against type) lovemaking (in a sequence reminiscent of the later, similar scene in Roeg's Don't Look Now) with that of lawyer Allan Cuthbertson's roller gliding down country lanes. A similarly stark contrast is then brilliantly captured between Chas (and cohorts) strong-arming a local businessman (for protection money) with Cuthbertson expounding during his white-collar crime court case, 'Really on trial here today are the ethics of the community'. The film's look and feel of Kray twins-era swinging/gangland London is acutely authentic - full of Rover Coupés (in this case driven by real-life hard man John Bindon), Lotus Elans parked up in mews cul-de-sacs, the frighteners being put on 'innocents' with unremitting violence (in the standout sequence of Cuthbertson's roller being given an acid bath and his chauffeur head-shaved) and Johnny Shannon establishing his gangland Mr Big archetype as Chas' boss, Harry Flowers. It's only when Chas oversteps the mark with another of Harry's 'clients' (Anthony Valientine's excellent bookie, Joey Maddocks), that Harry agrees Chas should take a 'sabbatical'.
What follows in the second major segment of the film, as Chas finds himself ensconced in a bohemian Notting Hill townhouse with Mick Jagger's reclusive rock star, Turner, and his live-in lovers, Anita Pallenberg's Pherber and Michèle Breton's Lucy, could hardly provide a greater contrast with the film's fast-moving, visceral, dynamically edited opening. Of course, you could argue (correctly, I guess) that Turner's drug (and literature)-fuelled, hippy lifestyle would indeed likely be a meandering, incoherent existence and, whilst there are still some moments of brilliance in this second half (Roeg's colour palette even more stunning now, and the film-makers introducing interesting themes around identity - as Chas adopts the artistic alter-ego Johnny Dean), for me, there is rather too much bed (and bath) cavorting to a background of kaftans and sitars for comfort. On the plus side, Jagger's acting is actually impressively naturalistic in this role, as well as providing an authentic 'rock n' roll moment' as he delivers the song Memo From Turner to camera.
Indeed, the music throughout is nicely evocative of the film's mood (and era), featuring notable contributions from Jack Nitzsche, Ry Cooder, Randy Newman and The Last Poets. As the film moves towards its conclusion, and his bohemian acquaintances increasingly try to coax him into their world, Chas/Johnny's reincarnation is complete, leading to the film's stunning, and enigmatic, final sequence.
For me, therefore, not an out-and-out masterpiece, but certainly one of the most innovative British films of the era and one that has undoubtedly had a significant influence on later cinema.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic movie, which, alongside Don't Look Now and The Man Who Fell to Earth, places Roeg on the summit of British cinema history. The acting is superb as is the art direction, which eventually places the self-exiled heroes (Fox/Jagger) in a beautifully realised Bohemian mansion, adorned with oriental trappings, beautiful women, drugs and music. And the play between gangster/musician is meticulously crafted as one slowly morphs into the other!! Or do they? Repeated viewings do not clarify the matter but do show how rich this film is. For instance watch out for the over-sized toy robot, who's in bed with who and where the mushrooms come from!! Marvellous stuff and it's British.