Performance: The Biography of a 60s Masterpiece
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A thorough analysis of the making of the film featuring original interviews with those involved.
How Performance came about and the involvement of key players such as James Fox who journeyed into the criminal underworld and how real gangsters were involved in the research for the film.
Reveals how Marlon Brando was originally considered for the role of Chas.
The various conflicts and intrigues that arose during filming, how the film was edited, the censorship pressures, the unseen footage and how it eventually made its way to the big screen.
Critical reaction to the film and how it turned into a cult classic.
An overview of the careers to date of directors Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg.
from the pedal. For such an artist there is nothing unless one is placing everything on the line at each attempt. The only performance that makes it, that really makes it, is the one that leads to madness. How right you are. Donald died in April 1996 by placing a gun against his forehead and firing it downwards, so that the bullet lodged in the back of his throat. It was not exactly the same as Turner’s shooting in Performance, just similar. Reportedly it took him 30 minutes to die, during which
poet who never wrote poetry. Such characters always create their work in the weave of other people. Litvinoff was no exception. He was the black sheep of his family, and whilst two of the other brothers worked hard and honestly, David had other ideas. “He was homosexual, loved low life, and tried to be a villain,” is how John Pearson phrased it. Litvinoff could give the right flavour to the script, giving the gangster dialogue an authenticity. He was also a source of contacts and arranged for
Ruttenberg, who was over from Hollywood to photograph The Miniver Story (1950) at the MGM studio in Boreham Wood. When Roeg asked what he was doing, Ruttenberg told the young clapper boy that he was aiming for “images that create the mood for the story”. Roeg told him that he was contemplating taking a photography course. “Just stay on the set and watch and be a part of it; anything you want to know, I’ll tell you.” Roeg was also part of the camera crew on such films as Ivanhoe (1952), The
are no illusions as to what Performance was to be concerned with. “Performance is a very decadent movie,” Cammell said. “It isn’t a moral tract. It’s a poetic treatise on violence. Mick would probably be annoyed at this. But his dilemma was that he knew what he was trafficking in. He knew about power and violence. I mean, the Stones’ music doesn’t exactly radiate peace and love.” James Fox could see that Cammell was interested in the relationship between the power of rock music and the power of
The energy’s great. I mean, they give you so much energy, just don’t know what to do with it man, and it lasts too, every performer has felt that. It’s just the way you are, the way the energy is, I don’t really know why … I know I try and do it, and then, I never went onstage with the idea of keeping everything cool. I never wanted it to be peaceful, even if I did before I went onstage, soon as I got on there and felt what they felt, I’ve wanted to make, I mean, they were totally in control, as