This fascinating documentary explores the relationship between Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, two young men who dreamed of making films together. They decided that the best way to get into the business would be to find a new rock band and film their rise to fame. The band they discovered and went on to manage was The High Numbers, who became The Who.
We follow the band and their managers as they negotiate the perils of fame, drug abuse and disagreements, and create albums including Tommy.
It is almost like two documentaries are happening simultaneously. One strand tells the story of the partnership between Lambert and Stamp and the other charts the breakthrough of The Who. It’s brilliant to see the band as skinny young boys who are yet to become rock legends. Roger Daltrey’s wife Heather remarks at how ugly they were starting out, commenting that they were nothing like The Beatles.
The film features interviews with Chris Stamp, his brother Terence Stamp and the two surviving members of The Who Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. Kit died in 1981, and as Townshend says, “It’s a pity that Kit isn’t here to tell his side”. Chris Stamp passed away in 2012, and it’s fantastic to listen to his stories from past interviews.
Lambert and Stamp formed an unlikely friendship despite coming from polar-opposite backgrounds, through their shared wish to make films. Their love for each other and the band is undeniable throughout, but the contributors also talk candidly about the reasons for the ultimate demise of the partnership.
Anybody with an interest in music will get something out of this documentary, whether it’s the rare, early performance footage of The Who, the shots of the 1960s music scene or the mod fashion movement.
Lambert & Stamp is a fascinating account of a group of artists trying to work together before their egos inevitably divided them, and is essential viewing for fans of The Who.
Every day MUBI‘s in-house experts hand-pick a beautiful new film and you have 30 days to watch it. £4.99 a month with the first month free for Picturehouse customers. mubi.com/picturehouse