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The true rock ‘n’ roll swindle

June 2nd, 2005 · No Comments

REVIEW: The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle
ShoutFactory DVD

Self-indulgent in every sense of the word, Julien Temple’s movie of Malcolm McLaren pulling a fast one over on both the industry and fans by forming the infamous Sex Pistols is strictly for hardcore Pistols fans, with limited concert footage and a laughable storyline (Jones as private eye?). Everyone by now knows McLaren’s tale of getting a group of young punks and forcing them into the British culture — viewers get a sense that if it happened today, there’d be a video camera along every step of the way for the inevitable reality show. Even the title’s still appropriate…

The DVD version of The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle includes commentary, interviews, and showcases footage from the band’s early concerts. The film’s original graininess is intact, and only makes everything seem more dated.

The Sex Pistols were never known for their onstage prowess — only for their raucous shows and offstage antics (including the much-heralded heroin addiction and death of bassist Sid Vicious). I have loved the band’s music since I first heard it more than 20 years ago, but some things are better left to the imagination — while the concert footage in The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle is mildly entertaining (but again, only to fans), it is difficult to sit through the film itself.

Back in the mid-eighties, I bought a copy of the soundtrack on vinyl — the record’s labels were photos of curled feces. They should have kept this concept for this DVD. The real swindle is that they’re actually charging for it. Throw it in your Netflix queue.

Tags: Music