6.9/10
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Performance (1970)

A violent gangster seeks refuge from the mob in the Bohemian home of a former rock star.

Writer:

Donald Cammell
Reviews

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Fox ... Chas
Mick Jagger ... Turner
Anita Pallenberg ... Pherber
Michèle Breton Michèle Breton ... Lucy (as Michele Breton)
Ann Sidney Ann Sidney ... Dana
John Bindon ... Moody
Stanley Meadows ... Rosebloom
Allan Cuthbertson ... The Lawyer
Anthony Morton Anthony Morton ... Dennis (as Antony Morton)
Johnny Shannon Johnny Shannon ... Harry Flowers
Anthony Valentine ... Joey Maddocks
Kenneth Colley ... Tony Farrell (as Ken Colley)
John Sterland ... The Chauffeur
Laraine Wickens Laraine Wickens ... Lorraine
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Storyline

Chas, a violent and psychotic East London gangster needs a place to lie low after a hit that should never have been carried out. He finds the perfect cover in the form of guest house run by the mysterious Mr. Turner, a one-time rock superstar, who is looking for the right spark to rekindle his faded talent. Written by Brad Jackson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This film is about madness. And sanity. Fantasy. And reality. Death. And life. Vice. And versa. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug material and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 September 1970 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Performance See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Goodtimes Enterprises See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White | Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At a test screening in Santa Monica in March 1970, one Warner executive's wife vomited with shock in response to the film and paying customers had to be offered their money back. See more »

Quotes

Joey Maddocks: Listen, do you remember Mick? Remember?
See more »

Alternate Versions

According to co-director Cammell in a 90's documentary 'The Real Donald Cammell' the film originally featured roughly half an hour more of the otherwise short opening (london gangster) section of the film. The idea being that the film would show how the worlds of Chas,(Fox) and Turner,(Jagger) were linked by the idea of performance. It is alleged by Cammell that these scenes were cut at the 'suggestion' of infamous London Gangsters the Kray brothers, Ronnie and Reggie, for whom the scenes were too true to their London underworld 'Firm' to be shown. This footage is also referred to, as are many other lost, cut or 'alternative' scenes, in the numerous books either on or concerning the film. See more »

Connections

Featured in 50 Years of Bad Sex (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Memo From Turner
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Performed by Mick Jagger
See more »

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User Reviews

 
You shoot too much of that s***, Pherber.
17 February 2004 | by donduttonSee all my reviews

This film operates on multiple levels and in cultures that we barely knew existed in 1970. The East End London mobster culture being one and the London counter-culture of drugs and music another. To further lend a surreal air, Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammel (who co-directed the film) present metaphors and psychological homologies- sadism, homosexuality, hierarchy in gangs and organizations- all stemming from central psychological needs for power and dominance combined with and expressed through sexuality. The first half of the film seems to anticipate Guy Ritchie- a glimpse into Cockney gangsters and "poofs" and then, Chas steps into Turner's lair and the film alters along with our consciousness. Suddenly, underneath the gangster/rockstar theme another, more deeply embedded theme emerges about identity and the part of others that we share in common(the deeper motivations and identities). Turner and Chas sense it in each other's "performance", all four main characters (arranged on a sexual continuum from the very female Pherber through 2 personae of androgyny to the very male Chas) explore their other parts as when Pherber puts a mirror, reflecting her breast on Chas. The shared motivational part comes from the "performance" of violence or art that Chas and Turner are fascinated by in each other. Add in some very strange camera angles and you have one of the very few films that ever did the impossible- represented altered consciousness to an audience (mainly) in straight consciousness. That last part depended on what year you saw it in theatres. In all, a very profound movie. Donald Cammell was a genius who never got his proper due.


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