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Performance [DVD] [1970] [2004]

4.2 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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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, Widescreen, Dolby, Digital Sound
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Swedish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Mar. 2007
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000KCI92E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,272 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

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'.

From Amazon.co.uk

"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 Fox stars as Chas, an "out of date" enforcer for crime kingpin Harry Flowers.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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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Format: Blu-ray
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.
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Format: VHS Tape
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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've been waiting for years for this to come out on DVD as it's my all time favourite film.

And it does indeed excel for the most part - a clear crisp cut with a soundtrack nicely audible.

My gripe is simple. During the Memo From Turner scene the soundtrack is inexplicably made by putting one channel of the stereo through both speakers. This means you can't hear the music properly and (as someone pointed out already) Turner's 'here's to old England' toast is inaudible. But then so is much of the guitar and other music in this sequence. As its the highlight of the entire film the overall impression of a long-awaited DVD is very poor and I suspect I will not watch it again, preferring a DVD recording of last time the film was shown on BBC2 - at least you can hear the music properly. How could Warners have got this so wrong?

Don't get me wrong - Performance is a brilliant, BRILLIANT film. It warrants ***** on its own, it's just this release is flawed.
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