Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Adrian Wootton explains the background to his upcoming illustrated talk, The Rolling Stones on Screen 1963 - 2012, on March 4th

The Rolling Stones’ fame (some would say notoriety) and enduring popularity for 50+ years is inextricably linked, not just to releasing records and live performance but to their appearances on television and film. Just like the Beatles, the Stones capitalised on burgeoning opportunities of TV exposure in the UK and the US and honed their image and stage personae, not just in front of live audiences but within the context of television studios. 

The Rolling Stones on ABC in 1964 (by Terry O'Neill)

They also rapidly saw the potential of film to give them even greater exposure, although their more outlaw, maverick identity pushed them towards documentary and art movie, rather than the musical entertainment vehicles initially developed by, for example, the Beatles. This means that the story of the Stones on celluloid is fascinating, idiosyncratic and unsurprisingly, often controversial.

Gimme Shelter (1970)

As a huge admirer of the band and intrigued by their forays into both small and large screen, I want to trace that history to explore the stories behind the legendary appearances on things like The Ed Sullivan Show and the quirky and often shocking revelations given in films like Godard’s Sympathy for the Devil and the Mayles Brothers' Gimme Shelter. Thus, my talk whilst working through a chronological filmography, also describes the sometimes extraordinary circumstances of the different conditions that films got made (partly based on research and partly on conversations I have had with some of the people involved) and also hopefully reveals how the Stones were changed by how they were depicted on screen. 

Sympathy for the Devil (1968)

Nevertheless, the talk is both an exploration and a homage, with a plethora of clips and images that reaffirms just how great 'the Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World' can truly be.

Adrian Wootton
Chief Executive 
Film London and the British Film Commission

The Afternoon Talk, The Rolling Stones on Screen 1963 - 2012, will take place on Tuesday, March 4th at 16.00. Tickets €5 (on sale now).

Jean-Luc Godard's Sympathy for the Devil will screen directly after the Talk, at 18.30, as part of the IFI's Rock 'n' Roll season in March. Tickets are on sale now.