Produced by the The Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham and directed by Peter Whitehead Charlie Is My Darling documents the band’s 1965 two city tour of Ireland. A somewhat haphazard affair, the film is none-the-less a fascinating glimpse into the life of The Stones on the road, backstage, performing and getting drunk. It also includes some footage of fans rioting at London’s Royal Albert Hall which was later inserted at Oldham’s behest to make the movie more commercial.
Whitehead directed one of the seminal films about the swinging sixties, Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London, and the exhilarating documentary of the infamous beat poet gathering at Royal Albert Hall, Wholly Communion. After seeing Wholly Communion, Oldham picked Whitehead to direct a freewheeling film that would compete with the success of the Beatle movies. The result was something a bit darker and rougher than anything produced by the Beatles at the time.
Charlie Is My Darling was given its premiere at the Mannheim Film Festival in 1966 when Joseph von Sternberg was Director of the Festival. He said - “When all the other films at this festival are long forgotten, this film will still be watched - as a unique document of its times.”
Filmed over three days in Dublin and Belfast, the film captures the boys in all their pristine and unspoilt pagan energy and satanic glory - soon after the release of their first big single in America - the record which established them there - “I can’t get no satisfaction”.
The passionate stage performances are finally wrecked by fans getting on the stage - the boys have to flee for their lives over railway lines when they arrive in Belfast. Scenes in the dressing room are highlighted by Keith playing acoustic Blues guitar - showing what a master he was on the guitar, and how serious he had always been about Blues music. Interviews with Charlie and Bill are very revealing - but most poignant of all is the interview with Brian Jones in which he discusses his threatened future as a Rolling Stone. Speaking only of ‘time’ and ‘insecurity of his future as a Rolling Stone’, he seemed already unconsciously aware of his fate. Did he not deliberately bring it upon himself?
The film ends with the legendary scenes of Keith and Mick drunk in the hotel ballroom - Keith playing the piano (extremely well!) and Mick doing an accurate and subversive impersonation of Elvis.”
The rights to Charlie Is My Darling and its soundtrack became entangled in legal problems when Allen Klein took over management of The Stones. Klein had a rep for being difficult (which is putting it kindly) when it came to controlling the band’s assets. So the original cut of the film was never released on video. A DVD version was released in England with a soundtrack of generic instrumental pop as background music and is basically unwatchable.
Here’s the real deal:
Posted by Marc Campbell |
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