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Directed by Donald Cammell and

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/roeg.htm
UK 1970

 

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.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 3rd, 1970

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DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

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Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Runtime 1:45:32 
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
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.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Featurette: Influence and Controversy
• Vintage featurette: Memo from Turner
• Theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: February 13th, 2007

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Chapters: 30

 

Comments:

NOTE (Thanks Steven - originally posted on Home Theater Forum by Anthony Thorne HERE) - "Warner's long awaited DVD of Nicolas Roeg's PERFORMANCE has been briefly reviewed by Video Watchdog editor Tim Lucas over at his blog HERE - and there's good news, and bad news...

The good news is that the disc is as uncut as it's ever been (rumours to a longer Donald Cammell print being in the posession of his widow notwithstanding), and the transfer is reportedly outstanding. The soundtrack has also been remastered (though it's not 5.1, so don't get your hopes up there) and the all-important music score is crisp and punchy. There's also a nice doco included.

The bad news is that the audio of a line of dialogue spoken by Mick Jagger during his central MEMO FROM TURNER performance is completely missing, even though the shot remains, and you see his lips move, and other dialogue by him from the same scene is there, and that same line of dialogue has been present and correct and easily heard in every other theatrical or home video version of the film that's ever been released. Not here. It's a very visible goof. Maybe someone at Warner bumped the 'mute' button for a few seconds when cleaning up the mix, or something. Oops..

It's a shame, and since the disc is out within a fortnight I'd have to wonder if Warner will correct it, but fans of PERFORMANCE might like to be pre-warned of this defect before they decide to shell out for the disc. I suppose PERFORMANCE can go in the pile with some of the Bonds, the MPI TEXAS CHAINSAW remaster (which had similar audio screw-ups), and other releases which are almost there, except for unnecessary technical mishaps. So close, and yet so far..."

The Lucas blog with his comments on PERFORMANCE is HERE. (thanks Anthony!)

NOTE: (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.
It's also, significantly, the first time for a US release that has the original production sound of the actors playing Harry Flowers and the young girl/housekeeper who works for Turner. In the US prints, these two actors were dubbed - and very, very obviously - because Warners believed their accents made their dialogue unintelligible. This was always particularly jarring in a movie that is otherwise, exclusively production sound when it comes to dialogue. Previous UK videos have had the correct voices but I've seen revival prints in the UK with the dubbed voices. Warners laser disc contained the dubbed tracks.
This may not make up for the missing piece of dialogue in "Memo From Turner" but it's probably very meaningful to potential buyers."

***

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.

Gary W. Tooze

 

 



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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

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