Directed by Donald Cammell and
Roeg's debut as a director is a virtuoso juggling act which manipulates its visual and verbal imagery so cunningly that the borderline between reality and fantasy is gradually eliminated. The first half-hour is straight thriller enough to suggest a Kray Bros documentary as Fox, enforcer for a London protection racket, goes about his work with such relish that he involves the gang in a murder and has to hide from retribution in a Notting Hill basement. There, waiting to escape abroad, he becomes involved with a fading pop star (Jagger) brooding in exile over the loss of his powers of incantation. In what might be described (to borrow from Kenneth Anger) as an invocation to his demon brother, the pop star recognizes his lost power lurking in the blind impulse to violence of his visitor, and so teases and torments him with drug-induced psychedelics that the latter responds in the only way he knows how: by rewarding one mind-blowing with another, at gunpoint. Ideas in profusion here about power and persuasion and performance ('The only performance that makes it, that makes it all the way, is one that achieves madness'); and the latter half becomes one of Roeg's most complex visual kaleidoscopes as pop star and enforcer coalesce in a marriage of heaven and hell (or underworld and underground) where the common denominator is Big Business.
Theatrical Release: August 3rd, 1970
DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 1.0)|
Influence and Controversy
NOTE (Thanks Steven - originally posted on Home Theater
HERE) - "Warner's long awaited DVD of Nicolas Roeg's PERFORMANCE
has been briefly reviewed by Video Watchdog editor Tim Lucas over at his
HERE - and there's good news, and bad news...
(Thanks Willard!): "Indeed, this is the longest version of the film
yet available and Tim Lucas' comments on the link are exactly correct
re: the opening sequence.
For the most part the image is impressive. Sharp, muted colors on a dual-layered, progressive, anamorphically transferred disc. Some scenes look a shade more saturated to me, but I'm sure this is how it appeared theatrically as well. Only English subtitles are offered and the disc is coded for regions 1 through 4 in the NTSC standard.
Supplements feature a 5 minute vintage featurette (basically a long advert) entitled 'Memo From Turner' and a new one entitled 'Influence and Controversy', clocking in at about 25 minutes. It has Colin McCabe (Prof at Pittsburgh University), Sandford Lieberson (the film's Producer), David Cammel (the Associate Producer) and Anita Pallenberg (the character of Pherber) discussing the very casual drug culture of the 60's including the 'Swinging London' films produced at that time and Mick Jagger's initial big screen debut. It is quite good as an overview of the era but could have been much longer. There is also a theatrical trailer.
The film is certainly unique and groundbreaking and many fans have been waiting a long while for it to hit DVD. It certainly has some memorable scenes that are quite thought-provoking in retrospect. The DVD is reasonably priced by Warner.