There’s Stones In Exile (2010), a film about the making of Exile on Main St. and the general circumstances of The Rolling Stones in 1972, There’s Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones (1974), a concert film relating to a limited selection of performances from the 1972 tour. One film has not been subject to general release, since it was first made: C—ksucker Blues (1972), the Robert Frank film of the 1972 tour. Too much backstage. Too embarrassing. Rolling Stones, having commissioned the film, then not wanting it released.
The film involves multiple hand-held cameras, with shots taken by the various film subjects, including Mick Jagger, who is filmed running around with camera himself. Some drug use, lots of drugs in the background, it seems, groupie nudity and a lot that one assumed was going on during tours at that time, but had never before seen. Lots of excellent concert and backstage scenes. One major impression being that of so many people always around, so that when the band members can travel alone for awhile, it is a particular relief:
The film has not been subject to general release, but fortunately some people have uploaded it, in segments. Nearly forty years on, there would seem to be little more to be embarrassed about. The general public now knows that Keith Richards, in 1972, was roughly five years into a ten year addiction to heroin. So a clip of him nodding off in 1972 is neither surprising nor, one would assume, particularly embarrassing anymore:
In my view, it’s a very important and historic film, to hopefully be subject to more general release in the near future.
Postscript, May 21, 2011: One of the more interesting aspects to the 2010 re-release of Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones, is the inclusion of practice session footage, which hints at the larger portrait found in C–ksucker Blues.
Postscript, October 10, 2012: The film is down, then up again, on YouTube, though for how long…