The Rolling Stones
Charlie Is My Darling (1966)
Mick Jagger .... Himself
Keith Richards .... Himself
Brian Jones .... Himself
Bill Wyman .... Himself
Charlie Watts .... Himself
Charming real-life footage of the Stones when they were a working band. They act like young men in their early 20's experiencing the first flush of fame:
impersonating Elvis, running from fans, endless travel. It's not meant to be prophetic but rather, a contemporary look at a phenomenon. A band would be too wise (or too well advised) to be so open now concerning doubt over their abilities or being exposed for their pretensions. Brian Jones is particularly vulnerable to having lofty
artistic ideas which he doesn't really understand. This is a fantastic snapshot of rock before cynicism, drugs, police busts, corporate machinery and political sloganeering
ushered in the hippy dream and the dark side of the sixties. Rock before overdoses, festivals and manipulative guile.
Stands alongside Pennebaker's 'Don't Look Back' as pioneering 60's verite rockumentary. By turns funny, touching, exciting & revealing. Whitehead manages to create an astonishing level of intimacy with the world's premier rock band which would be
unthinkable these days. Even the taciturn Charlie Watts is coaxed out of his shell and shares his feelings and philosophy (for perhaps the only time on film). Brian Jones's narcissism is palpable; A topless Keef displays his early mastery of the guitar jamming on 'Salty Dog'. The scenes of fan craziness in the pressure cooker fame game of the early 60's are viewed ironically from a distance like 'A Hard Day's Night' directed by Godard. The film also works now as a sort of social history of Ireland in the evocative detail of a vanished era. The occasional melancholy tone is one of the idiosyncratic touches that sets the film apart from any other pop doc. before or since.
A personal highlight is the hilarious scene where Watts tries to take a cigarette from Wyman but is repeatedly outwitted by some painfully simple sleight of hand.