LAMBERT AND STAMP tells the remarkable story of Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert, aspiring filmmakers who set out to find a subject for their underground movie, leading them to discover, mentor, and manage the iconic band that would become known as THE WHO. They forged a complex and moving relationship, fueling the band’s artistic development and leaving an indelible imprint on their time and generations to come. The film is charged with a mad concoction of noise, love, rebellion, artistry, and hilarity, as it takes us along on the surprising ride of two men who shaped one of the most exciting bands of all time.
We’ve seen our number of music documentaries over the years. We’ve even seen quite a big number of music documentaries concerning the iconic band ‘The Who‘. Showcasing their music, films, and bandmates, I thought there was nothing left to tell about ‘The Who’, but I was wrong. This documentary by James D. Cooper and expertly edited by Christopher Tellefsen, tells a story from a different point of view on ‘The Who‘, specifically from Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, hence the title ‘Lambert & Stamp‘. It’s an excellent and intriguing story of two men from very different backgrounds who were responsible for ‘The Who‘.
Flush with tons of amazing archival footage of the band, the concerts, the behind the scenes, and new interviews with the remaining members of the band and close cohorts and family, ‘Lambert & Stamp‘ is a fun and informative two hours. Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp were so involved and influential to the success of ‘The Who‘, they are considered by Daltrey and Townshend as the “5th and 6th” members of the band. The one unfortunate thing about this documentary is that a few people have died, who were no here to give their side of the story. Most importantly, Kit Lambert, who died back in 1981 was not on hand to talk about the rise of ‘The Who‘. Neither was John Entwistle or Keith Moon, who have been dead for a number of years now. And even though Chris Stamp died only a couple of years ago, this documentary was shot before his death, thus we receive his very powerful and energetic account of memories and stories throughout the entire film.
From time to time, Townshend and Daltrey discuss what they went through during the early years. But the story of ‘The Who‘ is a unique one, because nobody wanted or even thought this band would be as big and influential as it was today. In fact, we find out that Kit Lambert (a posh and very wealthy son of a classical composer in high society) and Chris Stamp (a son of a tug boat captain who was known for fighting around town) met each other while working on a studio lot for film. Lambert and Stamp’s passion were both in filmmaking and thought that if they could find a band, they could make a documentary about them, which would be their stepping stone to making bigger feature movies.
They found a group of guys who thought playing music was fun, but not a long term thing. So from being called the ‘High Numbers‘ to ‘The Who‘, things definitely changed, as the young British kids took to the different style of music ‘The Who’ was creating like a duck to water. It even gave Lambert and Stamp to talk about live on television the changing times in a political and social setting, all the while promoting ‘The Who‘. We also find out that Lambert and Stamp pretty much operated on no money up until ‘Tommy‘ was released, and it’s great to hear the band members discuss what was like during this time. Of course there were some dark times too, which led to some professional breakups and even drug related deaths.
But it’s with the recent interviews with Chris Stamp that keeps things jovial and full of life, as he discusses intimate and fun adventures throughout his young life, running this band. They even talk about how they signed Jimi Hendrix to a record label when in fact they had no record label. It was all quite funny. Cooper and Tellefsen have conjured up and fast paced and fun-as-hell documentary about one of the best bands to ever play a live show anywhere. This is one documentary you don’t want to miss out on.
'Lambert and Stamp' comes with a 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, although there are other aspect ratios shown throughout the film, due to old archival footage, but the main was is 1.85:1. This documentary is very average looking, visually speaking as it only consists of old archival footage of concerts, interviews, and news reels, along with present day interviews. For some reason, most of the film is in black and white, even the present day interviews, but it switches to full color whenever it wants to with no rhyme or reason. The old archival footage has all of the usual issues with dirt, debris, warps, and framing issues.
Most of the archival footage is somewhat murky and fuzzy looking too. The present day interviews look a lot better though with some strong detail that shows nice facial features on the aging rock stars. There is also a nice layer of grain through the whole film, that fluctuates whenever the older footage is on screen, never giving a crisp picture. Colors are realistic in the present day interviews and well saturated, but that's about as far as the color goes. The black levels aren't great with the archival footage, but the skin tones are natural in the recent interviews. This is not a visually pleasing documentary, but it gets the job done.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix as well as a Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio Description Track. The DTS-HD option is the way to go though. Being a documentary full of talking head interviews and old archival footage, this is not the audio presentation you want if you were hoping for a class 'Who' concert film.
It's not all that immersive by any means, but the interviews and dialogue do sound crystal clear and is always easy to understand, even with their British accents. The music that plays in the background sounds good, but is too soft to really enjoy it, although when it comes full force and loud, you'll be satisfied. Other than that, the audio isn't memorable. Old archival footage has poops, and cracks, and sounds muffled and never full.
Commentary with James D. Cooper - Director of 'Lambert and Stamp', James D. Cooper talks about making this documentary and why he chose the unique visual style he stuck with. He also talks about the band itself and their rise to fame. As the film goes on, the bigger the gaps get in the commentary.
Q&A With Henry Rollins & James D. Cooper (HD, 39 Mins.) - After a screening if 'Lambert and Stamp', Henry Rollins hosted a Q&A with director James D. Cooper as they discussed the making of the film and the lives of each band member of 'The Who'. Rollins digs deep in to the film and Cooper delivers some great answers, despite his very monotone voice and demeanor.
Trailers (HD, 20 Mins.) - A trailer for 'Lambert and Stamp' along with six other trailers for other films.
'Lambert and Stamp' is a solid documentary for fans of 'The Who'. It doesn't necessarily focus on the lives of every member of the band , nor their entire career, but rather about the two guys who founded the band on a whim in order to make feature films in Hollywood. With what the film covers, this is a fascinating look at how 'The Who' became to be one of the more iconic and popular bands to ever make music, which they still do today. The video and audio presentations won't blow you away by any means, but they get the job done. And out of the all the extras, really only one of them is worth watching. If you're a fan of 'The Who', you'll enjoy this, but give it a rent first, before purchasing.