fri 22/03/2019

DVD: Lambert and Stamp | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Lambert and Stamp

DVD: Lambert and Stamp

Fascinating account of The Who's unsung Svengalis

Unlikely duo: Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert

Few rock managers deserve a full-length documentary as much as Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, who breathed life and inspiration into a lively young Mod group the High Numbers, and transformed them into The Who.

They were an unlikely duo – a partnership which reflected the class-busting mood of London in the 1960s. Lambert was brilliant, cosmopolitan and gay: he had been to public school and Oxford, and his father was the composer Constant Lambert. Stamp was the son of a Thames tugboat captain, a cockney chancer with a sharp intelligence and a great deal of ambition.

In a fast-cut, restless documentary, enriched with an incredible amount of evocative and revelatory archive footage, the American documentarian James D Cooper, tells the story of two men whose unique chemistry created the environment in which The Who could find themselves – and more.

Chris Stamp comes across with unusual honesty and emotional openness

Feature-length documentaries often suffer from being overlong, not least when the film-maker is blessed with a treasure-trove of archive. This was the case with Listen to Me Marlon and to some extent Amy. The same is true of Lambert and Stamp – too many points are made in a rambling and repetitive way, and the film loses pace and focus as a result.

Nevertheless, the tale is dramatic, strong and mostly well-told. The high energy characteristic of The Who ‘s music is reflected in a story that fizzes with excitement, as well as the fury of creation and destruction. Chris Stamp comes across with unusual honesty and emotional openness. It is rare to see someone in the rock world speak so eloquently, and in many ways, he carries the film, although Pete Townshend comes a close second. Lambert, in contrast, for all his remarkable qualities as a charming Svengali, comes across as a more tragic figure, another casualty of the rock circus’s relentless play on ambition, personal rivalry and disillusion.

They were an unlikely duo – a partnership which reflected the class-busting mood of London in the 1960s

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Editor Rating: 
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Average: 3 (1 vote)

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