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James D. Cooper
Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Kit Lambert, Chris Stamp

A documentary that reveals how the unlikely partnership between aspiring filmmakers Christopher Stamp and Kit Lambert produced one of the greatest rock bands in history: The Who.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$13,500 on 3 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
Chinese Simplified
Chinese Traditional
Supplements Subtitles:
Chinese Traditional

Runtime: 117 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 8/18/2015

• Audio Commentary with Director James D. Cooper
• “The Who In Finland”
• The Who 1967 Promotional Film
• Archival Footage
• Q&A with Henry Rollins and Director James D. Cooper
• Trailer
• Previews

Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

Lambert and Stamp [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 16, 2015)

Behind every successful band, you’ll probably find an active, productive manager – or two, in the case of the Who. To look at the legendary rock group’s initial management, we go to a 2015 documentary called Lambert and Stamp.

The title refers to Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, two Londoners who helped shepherd the Who to stardom. Lambert uses a fairly standard documentary format, as it mixes archival footage with interviews.

The film includes modern comments from Chris Stamp, musicians Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and Richard Barnes, actor/Chris’s brother Terence Stamp, explorer Dr. John Hemming, Daltrey’s wife Heather, college friend Robert Fearnley-Whittingstall and mod “Irish Jack”. We also hear from Lambert via older footage. (Lambert died in 1981, while Stamp passed in 2012.)

The film tells us a little about the lives of Lambert and Stamp and how they met up with the Who. We see how Lambert and Stamp initially wanted to make a movie about a band but ended up as the Who’s management instead. We trace their work in that vein through the years as well as connected efforts.

Given how few managers achieve any kind of actual fame, programs such as Lambert and Stamp don’t pop up often. Honestly, beyond Brian Epstein and Tom Parker, how many managers are known to the general public? Heck, I don’t know if the average fan can even identify those two, much less Lambert and Stamp. As such, I appreciate the documentary’s focus, as the stories of Lambert and Stamp offer plenty of intrigue on their own.

That said, Lambert doesn’t investigate its title characters quite as well as I’d like. It starts with biographical info about Kit and Chris, but it feels as though the show rushes through the guys’ earlier days so it can get to the Who Years.

Which is fine, as we probably wouldn’t have a documentary about Lambert and Stamp if they’d never encountered the High Numbers back in 1964. Obviously an Epstein film would need to relate the tale of the Beatles, so I can’t fault the focus on the Who.

Still, I wish Lambert broadened a bit more to let us know more about its subjects outside of the band dynamics. So much of the material gets filtered through the world of the Who that we don’t learn as much as we should about other endeavors.

If we accept this focus, though, Lambert works quite well. It may stick with the story of the Who, but it does so through a different than usual perspective, so we get a good look at what Lambert and Stamp meant to the band’s development and success.

The film certainly avoids the potential “puff piece” feel. Definitely a warts and all presentation, the film gives us blunt talk about all the requisite areas, including when the Who dismissed the managers. The movie manages to provide something that comes across as an honest appraisal.

All of this allows Lambert and Stamp to develop into an engaging documentary. It covers its subjects in a lively manner that makes it engrossing much of the time.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Lambert and Stamp appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a more than acceptable documentary presentation.

Modern footage looked fine, as these clips were reasonably crisp and detailed – at least given the limitations of the effort’s native 16mm format. Jagged edges and moiré effects seemed absent, and I witnessed no signs of edge enhancement or source defects. Due to the settings in which they were shot, the colors remained subdued, but they appeared acceptably fill. Black levels were pretty dense and tight as well.

A mix of sources constituted the rest of the film. Some of it seemed reasonably accurate and clean, but lots of it appeared pretty ugly. Source flaws became a major issue in the archival elements, and sharpness was lackluster. The movie still presented the material appropriately, but the mix of good and bad left this as a “B-”.

While not dazzling, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Lambert was fine given the film’s scope. As one might expect, music dominated the track. Various songs spread across the front speakers in a satisfying way, and the surround channels added good reinforcement.

Non-musical elements had less to do. Speech remained focused in the front center – with only an occasional spread to the side - while effects only sporadically appeared at all, much less around the soundfield. And that was perfectly appropriate for this movie; it’s about music, so that side of things should dominate.

Audio quality was positive. Music varied due to the mix of source elements but usually seemed solid. Speech was also a major aspect of the track. Dialogue came across just fine, as the comments always appeared natural and distinctive. The occasional effects were accurate and clear. The soundtrack offered an appropriately limited scope, and it merited a “B”.

The Blu-ray provides a good array of extras, and these start with an audio commentary from director James D. Cooper. He presents a running look at the project’s development and long path to the screen, the various participants and situations, cinematography, editing and constructing the film, and additional thoughts about the tales the flick tells.

You’ll note I didn’t refer to this as a screen-specific commentary. Cooper chats in a manner that touches on a variety of film topics but these virtually never connect to the action we see.

Which is fine with me, at least when Cooper gives us strong information, which he does much of the time. He may not follow a concise “screen-specific” path, but Cooper reveals a nice array of details.

For a while, at least. When the movie reaches 1969 and Tommy, Cooper goes MIA for an extended period, and he chats only sporadically the rest of the way. Given his chattiness prior to that point, his disappearance becomes a surprise. Cooper still offers a good commentary, but he vanishes too much of the time.

Some archival elements appear next. We get The Who In Finland (9:02), The Who Promotional Film 1967 (2:02), ”Where the Action Is” Archival Footage (5:21) and ”Call Me Lightning” Archival Footage (2:07). “Finland” shows the band’s visit there circa 1966, I’m guessing. We see the Who at the airport and hear some comments from Townshend and Entwistle. A few seconds of the band on stage as well, though it seems to be from a different visit – unless Entwistle grew a mustache in very short order. “Finland” is decent as a historical bit but not especially interesting.

“Promotional Film” alternates stage footage with a little vignette of the Who on a drive. It comes without sound, which limits its value. “Action” gives us some comments about the band’s look/success, while “Lightning” presents silent footage of the Who as they pretend to use explosives. Though some of the same material appears in the film, “Action” comes with useful notes. “Lightning” is just odd and confusing.

Next comes a Q&A with director James D. Cooper and musician Henry Rollins. They discuss aspects of the film’s creation as well as reflections on its subjects. Rollins becomes a lively questioner and this ends up as an informative chat.

The disc opens with ads for Whiplash, Saint Laurent, Aloft, Testament of Youth, Jimmy’s Hall and Infinitely Polar Bear. We also find the trailer for Lambert.

With Lambert and Stamp, we view the history of the Who from the management perspective. Though not a total success, the movie usually offers a strong look at its subjects and their lives/careers. The Blu-ray provides mostly good picture and audio as well as a fairly solid set of supplements. Fans of the Who will find this to be required viewing. , 2015)

Viewer Film Ratings: 5 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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