Lambert & Stamp

"Very Good"

Lambert & Stamp Review


There's a cool 1960s beat to this documentary, which explores the creation of The Who through the eyes of the two men who made them stars, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. Filmmaker James D. Cooper deploys an astonishing collection of unseen photos and film footage to tell the story, including both new and archival interviews with the people involved. And even if there are sequences that feel like they're off the topic, this is a strikingly engaging documentary both about the band and the music industry.

Kit and Chris were the ultimate odd couple: Kit was super-posh (and also gay at a time when being so was illegal), while Chris was a working-class Londoner. But they shared a deep love of art and philosophy, and planned a career together making movies. To kick off their career, they decided to make a film about a band, and they thought the High Numbers were the perfect subjects: neither cute like the Beatles nor brutish like the Stones. They chose one of the band's old names for itself, The Who, and came up with clever ways to build an audience. Then in 1969 their rock opera Tommy pushed The Who into super-stardom, resulting of course in drug use, money issues, fame problems and lots of arguments.

What's most fascinating about Lambert and Stamp is the way they allowed The Who to have a life of its own, constantly shifting their own goals rather than try to make the band what they wanted it to be. Using a range of colour and black-and-white imagery, this lively and witty documentary captures their strong personalities, while carefully detailing how they managed everything from the band's music and clothing to the way they played on-stage (there's a hilarious montage of guitar-smashing). And like Lambert and Stamp themselves, everything is infused with a strong sense of the British class system, which they cleverly exploited for their own gain.

The relationship between these two men is fascinating to see explored in such a detailed way, as is the way they interacted with the band. So even if everything ultimately collapses into the usual cycle of addiction, greed, arrogance and recriminations, there's something unusual in this film that we don't often see: the usually unseen men behind the stars. Lambert and Stamp had an ability to spot potential and make the shifting trends work in their favour. In other words, they were marketing geniuses who knew that success is only possible with careful planning and a lot of happy accidents.


Lambert & Stamp Trailer

 



Lambert & Stamp

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 117 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd April 2015

Box Office USA: $33.3k

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: James D. Cooper

Producer: James D. Cooper, Douglas Graves, Loretta Harms

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