Kinda Young, Kinda Wow: Charlie Is My Darling

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This lost 1965 documentary of The Rolling Stones 1965 tour of Ireland is a mixed blessing. Yes, it is wonderful that the film exists at all. However, one can kind of understand why it remained unreleased after all these years, at least as a home video styled consumer product. You see, after the charm of watching the documentary has worn off, you are left with snippets of concert footage, interspersed with interviews with the band members, fun behind the scenes footage and interviews with fans of the moment.

What would have made this set shine (for this reviewer at least) would have been inclusion of uncut outtake concert footage. If they have the elements for restoring this film, then somewhere there is likely the original concert footage. THAT would have given this package an extra boost as a release of more interest than to the hard core Stones fan.

That said...

Like a shorter, dark-side take on The Beatles' Hard Day's Night movie, Charlie Is My Darling shows just how debilitating that sort of maniacal fan superstardom can be on the group. One show ends not long after it begins as fans rush the stage and start (literally) attacking the band members, jumping on them, knocking them down as they unplug their instruments and are escorted out of the building to a car and safety.  

One might say:  OMG! (or WTF?) 

I've never quite understood that level of frenzy where fans attack their favorite artists to the point of stopping the show. Being a pop idol is a pretty wacky thing, as I'm sure Justin Bieber can attest, so watching a film like this makes it crystal clear why some of these folks walk away from the business eventually.

To that, Charlie Is My Darling really does accomplish what Director Peter Whitehead hoped to accomplish: "I was really trying to portray these guys as ordinary blokes to whom something amazing had happened, who loved their music and were doing what they wanted to do." 

It is genuinely enlightening to see the band members behind the scenes, especially Mick and Keith working together writing songs, getting drunk together and such -- they were genuine friends at one point, quite obviously, not just business partners as it seems these days.

The scene where Keith is playing his acoustic guitar without a shirt wearing just a floral vest shows he was well on the way to being the bad boy deluxe he became by the Exile on Main Street era. There are bottles of booze throughout this film -- another reason why the film was probably shelved until the band is near ready to retire.1965 was centuries away from even 1972 in terms of image and parental tolerance.

For a dramatically restored 16 mm black and white film Charlie's My Darling looks pretty good - grainy and much more moody in its shooting style than the bright perkiness of the Fab's Hard Day's Night.

The sound it quite good for the period and enjoyable in 5.1 or stereo.

Unfortunately, as a surround mix, Charlie's My Darling is rather indistinct. But that shouldn't be a surprise given that the original footage was probably captured in mono.There are only so many miracles one can expect in a single release. ;-)

So... the question remains: should you buy this?

If you are a hardcore Stones fan you probably already own it. If you are curious about the pitfalls of stardom, this is an essential view.Do you need to see it on Blu-ray? It looks real good on Blu-ray. Given the graininess and documentary flavored production, it probably looks equally well on DVD. The choice up to you. 

After all.... (here it comes).... it's.... only... rock and roll... right?

 

 

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