Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle

The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle

Director: Julien Temple

Cast: Julien Temple, Malcolm McLaren, John (Johnny Rotten) Lydon, Sid Vicious

     
 

Julien Temple's surreal portrait of the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols as seen through the eyes of manager Malcolm McLaren comes to North American DVD in this edition from Shout Factory. The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle has been transferred to disc in the full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1; the image looks as if it was mastered from a PAL source and is a bit on…  See more details below

Overview

Julien Temple's surreal portrait of the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols as seen through the eyes of manager Malcolm McLaren comes to North American DVD in this edition from Shout Factory. The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle has been transferred to disc in the full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1; the image looks as if it was mastered from a PAL source and is a bit on the soft and murky side, but it's appreciably better than the out-of-print VHS edition from Warner Music, with the colors looking brighter and clearer. The audio has been mastered in two formats, Dolby Digital Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1, and both tracks sound good if not exceptional. The dialogue is in English, with no multiple-language options included. As a bonus, this version includes an onscreen interview with director Julien Temple, as well as a commentary track featuring Temple and rock writer Chris Salewicz, in which they discuss in detail the long and torturous road to the completion of the film (though little is made of the origins of the project with director Russ Meyer). While more of a curiosity than an honest depiction of the group's history, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle at least makes a fascinating companion piece with Temple's later film on the Sex Pistols, The Filth and the Fury.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bill Pearis
Singer John Lydon claims the Sex Pistols were a real band. Malcolm McLaren, the seminal punk act's manager-provocateur-huckster, says that the whole Pistols phenomenon sprung from his clever mind, and that the band was merely part of his scam to grab "cash from chaos." The truth is likely somewhere in between, but McLaren entertainingly lays out his case here in what -- although billed as a Sex Pistols movie -- is undoubtedly McLaren's creation. Cobbled together by director Julien Temple from other aborted film projects, most notably the failed Roger Ebert-Russ Meyer collaboration Who Killed Bambi?, nearly half of the film is McLaren dictating to a dwarf assistant his ten-step plan for rock 'n' roll success. These edicts include "forget about the music...concentrate on creating generation gaps" and "terrorize, insult, and threaten your own useless generation." Cynical as it seems, his advice now seems prescient. Interspersed with this, we get a subplot featuring guitarist Steve Jones as a noir-era gumshoe on the trail of McLaren, for reasons the movie never explains. There is also: footage of the band's riverboat kamikaze concert during the Queen's Jubilee celebration; a surprisingly good disco medley of Pistols tracks; two Sid Vicious performances, including his infamous, expletive-laden cover of "My Way"; a Rio de Janeiro performance with British cult hero (and train robber) Ronnie Biggs on vocals; and various other acts of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Lydon had quit, or been sacked, by the time the film was in production, and is only seen in older footage. His presence is sorely missed. While Temple would later offer a more accurate portrait of the Pistols' meteoric rise and fall with The Filth and the Fury, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle remains an absolutely essential snapshot of the original British punk revolution.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/17/2005
UPC:
0826663001792
Original Release:
1980
Rating:
NR
Source:
Shout Factory
Region Code:
1
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:40:00
Sales rank:
24,490

Special Features

Interview and commentary with director Julien Temple by rock writer Chris Salewicz

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Malcolm McLaren 'The Embezzler'
John (Johnny Rotten) Lydon 'The Collaborator'
Sid Vicious 'The Gimmick'
Paul Cook 'The Tea-Maker'
Ronald Biggs Actor
Jess Conrad Actor
Liz Fraser Actor
Mary Millington Crook's Partner
Julian Holloway Actor
James Aubrey Actor
Johnny Shannon Actor
Helen of Troy Actor
Tenpole Tudor Actor
Alan Jones Actor
Irene Handl Usherette
Steve Jones 'The Crook'
Peter Dean Bouncer (uncredited)

Technical Credits
Julien Temple Director,Screenwriter
Phil Austin Animator
Adam Barker-Mill Cinematographer
Richard Bedford Editor
Don Boyd Executive Producer
Nicholas D. Knowland Cinematographer
John Metcalfe Cinematographer
John Sanders Sound/Sound Designer
Jeremy Thomas Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
2. The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle [6:27]
3. Anarchy in the U.K. [6:47]
4. Johnny B. Goode [5:15]
5. You Need Hands [4:49]
6. No Feelings [3:06]
7. Silly Thing [2:12]
8. Rock Around the Clock [6:01]
9. Bodies [3:53]
10. God Save the Queen [4:03]
11. Pretty Vacant [4:36]
12. Somethin' Else [4:28]
13. Lonely Boy [1:54]
14. C'mon Everybody [6:25]
15. Belsen Was a Gas [2:05]
16. No Fun [2:10]
17. Who Killed Bambi? [3:03]
18. Belsen Vos a Gassa [11:21]
19. My Way [6:54]

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