$WiND£E - Press Features
X PISTOLS FILM
AFTER MONTHS of legal argument and furious editing The
Great RockNRolI Swindle is finally being readied for release
in this country. A final print of the movie was shown recently at a Film Festival
in Los Angeles and, subject to various small objections from the British censor,
a substantially similar version could be on show in London in May.
tangling with numerous distribution companies, Virgin have formed their own firm
to publish the film and expect to have it on the circuit by June. The film, which
runs for 100 minutes was highly praised when reviewed by the press in Los Angeles.
In Britain it will be released with an X certificate.
Hits, April 1980)
STORY of how the Pistols came to complete their starring roles in a movie is almost
as fascinating as the final result. It started in 1977 when McLaren decided to
make a major pic starring the Pistols.
Meyer, the man who brought you such classics as Beyond The Valley Of The
Dolls and Supervixens was asked to England by McLaren to direct
Bambi. The first script by Johnny Speight of Till Death Us Do
Part fame was rejected.
then asked Roger Ebert author of Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls and
the only American film critic to have won the Pulitzer Prize for journalism to
England to write another script which he did in four days straight.
new draft presented amongst other things Johnny Rottens love of the IRA
and hatred of the Americans and the English. Steve Jones life was to consist
solely of prostitutes and hamburgers (not necessarily in that order) and Sid Vicious
was to be seen screwing his mother.
was all set to go in late 77. However Meyer got only three days of shooting done
on location in Wales before the film was cancelled with no explanation.
other directors were called in to salvage the project Pate Walker, the English
equivalent of Russ Meyer and Jonathon Kaplan, one of Cormans proteges
he did Caged Heat but no further progress was made on the film
until the start of the Pistols American tour in '78 when Julian Temple, a student
of the National Film School took over. He dumped most of the Meyer script and
with McLaren came up with the RocknRoll Swindle idea.
He started shooting during the summer of 78 using money earned by McLaren
from the Pistols records.
GREAT Rockn Roll Swindle finally reached the screen last week
at the Los Angeles Film Festival. For me, it is the definitive music film of the
seventies.The depiction of how the group are exploited by the media and their
manager is the most impressive use of a group within a film since the Monkees
in Head and the Beatles in Help.
At the core
of the film are McLarens ten guidelines for a groups instant success.
Among the gems explained on film, by animated sequences (trashing A&Ms
offices) and by McLaren himself are firstly Show various record companies
the potential of a band that cant play, secondly Make it as
hard as possible for the media to get to the group, Insult your audience
as much as possible and stimulate hatred for the band itself.
At each step in the Pistols break up Tenpole Tudor sings Who Killed Bambi
and Steve Jones and Paul Cook are seen in Rio with Biggsy and a character called
Martin Bormann (a perennial favourite of Russ Meyer films). This is all that appears
to be left of Meyers work on the film.
THERE ARE several
complete numbers from the band, all of them intercut into the film including My
Way from Sid in Paris. Beside Biggs, the unlikely cast also includes Mary
Millington (dead soft-core porn actress). Liz Fraser (alive soft-core porn actress),
Jess Conrad (once a singer himself), and Irene Handl of all people.
The whole thing meshes together sweetly, the story and the documentary footage
of the band fitting together perfectly.The photography is credited to A.. Barker-Mills
whose last film was Monty Pythons Life Of Brian. There is a
more than casual connection between the two films. The style of both anarchic
TONY WATTS. Sounds, March 29th 1980
ON MORE PRODUCT
THE GREAT RocknRolI Swindle
opens in London on May 15th at The Classic, Oxford Street, and The London Pavilion.
Later in May it will also be shown at The Screen On The Green, Islington (London)
and its likely that some sort of national release will be arranged for June.
are also releasing a single album of music from the soundtrack called (surprise!)
The Great RocknRoll Swindle in early June. Its not
yet known exactly what this will contain. There is also to be a book of the film,
written by respected fantasy novelist Michael Moorcock, and presented in the format
of a newspaper.
Hits, May 1980)
Great Rock n Roll Swindle by Michael Moorcock (Virgin Books
great deal to do with the film, apart from the pictures, but then at least the
Swindle is being consistent! Michael Moorcock has written his own novel inspired
by the film (he even manages to write Lemmy into his account!) and its presented
in tatty newspaper format but at 75p its the cheapest rip-off connected
with the Swindle so maybe we shouldnt complain. But its out of print
already so youll have to search around a bit.
Moorcock book was subsequently re-issued in paperback by Virgin books (ISBN 0907080138)
in 1981 priced at £1.50) (pictured)
Helen in Waiting
Swindle Stars Career Plans
HELEN Of Troy (the first) lived
in mythology and launched a thousand ships. The second one lives in NW6 and would
like to launch her own career. All she wants now, she says, is a good agent, an
Equity card and artistic credibility. And if the first two are hard enough to
come by. then the third when youre a dwarf and only known for playing
Malcolm McLarens sidekick in The Great RocknRoll Swindle
can be damn near impossible.
got into movies, as she explains, just to exploit myself and make some money
out of all this. Cos everyone looks at me and I think God, if I could
get sixpence for each look let alone for opening my mouth, you know?
opportunity came with the arrival of punk in 76, which she loved. For a
start, she already looked like one:
because I had to. not because of any fashion. I used to cut up my ex-husbands
pants: because they were so wide I used to wrap them around me to make them tight.
And I just think, well. Ive got nothing to lose.., and most of the time
I can get away with it, because people are so sort of Christian- dyou know
what I mean, really, they find it hard to be honest with me. They probably think
Im a half-wit.
I do want to sing, and do films, and feel that I have worked, been notorious,
famous, infamous, whatever. I have to express myself because I find life absolutely
pointless if I cant have an outlet... I know I can make money. Its
being Tiny Tim, I suppose; to have a career like his. He was horrific really,
but he left a mark, he did something.
director Derek Jarman, her first break came with a role in his punk fantasia Jubilee,
the second through a close association with The Sex Pistols. As a good friend
of the group (great boys, and considerate) and having worked as all-round
dogsbody in the McLaren organisation (she claims to have been the designer of
punks blackmail graphic style, though credit went to Jamie Reid) Helen was
prepared to go to war it she was left out of any plans to film the
for Helen, Swindle director Julien Temple ensured her participation, and so she
appears in the opening sequence assembling the title, and also as Malcolms
wide-eyed sidekick, listening with amazement as he lists his infamous ten
used to feed off my face, my expressions; I drew it out of him. Helens
rather actressy manner extends to the obligatory bitching too: Vivienne
(Westwood, of Seditionaries) would come on to the set chanting directions
I mean, ,Julien was the director and criticised Malcolms looking
at me, why shouldnt he look straight at the camera. . like reading
the news, so lacking in imagination. And because we didnt do that, its
not political, she mimics with a sneer. This is her way
of saying its too Chipperfields Circus or whatever. But I enjoy the
film. Under the circumstanceswhat it went through, the hassles, the squabbles,
people wiping their names off the credits and not talking to each other, all the
bad vibes its done exceedingly well. Basically I think its
great, like a lucky dip, full of everything.
as for Helen Of Troy (real name Helen Wellington-Lloyd)? Already shes done
a few promo films, and made one attempt at forming a band with two Mo-Dettes:
But I felt I wasnt ready then. What I want badly now is a record deal
and a backing band, She says shed love to do a cosmetic ad too, if
only theyd let her. I can look quite dollybird-ish at times
that would really be punching peoples whole way of thinking, to sell a product
that so-called pretty proportioned ladles would sell.
though her finest hour came recently, at of all places, a UK Subs gig in the Music
Machine. I was mobbedl she remembers blissfully. Loads of them
they must have seen the record cover they wanted my autographs. Dirty,
pockmark faced urchins. I couldnt see a thing! Her eyes close in delight.
find that so exciting. I really do
DU NOYER, NME, 1980
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