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Stones in Exile

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 06-04-2010


Product Description
In the spring of 1971 the Rolling Stones departed the UK to take up residence in France as tax exiles. Keith Richards settled at a villa called Nellcôte in Villefranche-sur-Mer and this became the venue for the recording of much of the band s masterpiece Exile On Main Street . Stones In Exile tells the story in the band s own words and through extensive archive footage of their time away from England and the creation of this extraordinary double album, which many r… More >>

Stones in Exile

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Comments (5)

This is a very good DVD release, although it doesn’t seem like the Holy Grail of Glimmer Twins releases we fans have wished for all these years. It’s interesting to see footage (and there’s a lot of it) from this time period, with snippets of C-S Blues and more of Ladies and Gentlemen thrown in. I could have done without the interviews with Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill, Jack White, Liz Phair and probably Sheryl Crow. White’s comments seem to repeat themselves, and while Crow and Phair are OK in the main movie, their cutting-room floor segments on the DVD’s bonus features really starts to drag, especially Phair, who comes across as self-absorbed and almost desperate for attention.

On the plus side, the interview with Don Was is good, probably the best of the non-Stones interviews, and Black Eyed Peas’ Will I. Am gives a decent interview. Much of Mick Taylor’s and Bill Wyman’s comments are relegated to the bonus features area, but they are seen and heard in the main film, also. And speaking of the main film, it’s only 61 minutes in the length, unfortunately. The bonus features bump up the running time on this release. I was hoping for a 2-hour documentary, “25 X 5”-style, with maybe 30 or 40 minutes of bonus interviews. Not so. It is a short feature, but what is there is pretty cool. To hear Keith Richards reveal why he did heroin in that time period (and presumably for another five or six years) is a revelation, and Wyman’s playful jibe at Taylor’s comatose-like stage presence during the 1972 shows is hysterical and ironic. Wyman does finally utter something like, “I’m one to talk.” “In 30 years with The Rolling Stones, I maybe took three steps on the stage,” Wyman says while laughing.

“Stones in Exile” is a good release, but it falls just short of being an immaculate document of one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Maybe Eagle Rock’s upcoming DVD release of “Ladies and Gentlemen … The Rolling Stones” will be packed to the gills with extra goodies.
Rating: 4 / 5

For the novice to intermediate enthusiast, this is a well constructed and fascinating overview of what life and artistic expression was like for the Stones in Spring 1971, which was it’s intended purpose (inspire new or deeper fan-dom + renew interest in Exile = greater mythos and sales).

For the long time, obsessive enthusiast…who has either seen / heard or has every piece of audio or video media ever made available outside the Stones camp’s private archive…there is still plenty of fun here. The interviews, wisely dubbed over period visuals, carry the story along vibrantly. If you pay attention there’s lots of interesting insights…from the various horse’s mouths…into their personalities, creative process, the Nellcote mythology (much of which isn’t as decadent or mysterious as it has been embellished to be).

As for the footage, while germane to the period, album, and supporting tour the following year, there are only snippets here and there of ‘original’ or unseen footage (at least to the serious afficianado) with little thought to relevance or accurate chronology. That having been said, it is great to see clean, presumably first generation footage from ‘CS Blues’ and ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ (which is FINALLY being cleaned up and officially released on DVD this fall). The grainy footage from Nellcote is mesmerizing, as are the cutting room floor audio sequences of previously unheard jamming and studio dialogue that accompany them.

A happy note too is the final credits soundtrack giving us ‘Exile on Main Street Blues’, a quick, piano accompanied track which was previously available only on bootleg since released as a ‘flexi-disc’ promo prior to the 1972 US Tour.

I enjoyed ‘Stones in Exile’, and…though, like any anticipated Stones release, it could never live up to the preconceived hopes I had for it…it was alot of fun to watch and I’m glad they did it. My only real criticism is the pointless interviews with the likes of Jack White, Benicio Del Toro, and Sheryl Crow…all nice people and interesting artists (no disrespect) but irrelevant. Fortunately very brief. Don Was was a sensible inclusion because a.) he has worked with them alot, and on ‘Voodoo’ tried to replicate / modernize the various dynamics that made Exile so great (this time at Ron Wood’s house in Ireland). Scorsese, of course, appreciates the Stones intelligently and is always interesting to hear on any topic.

Finally, I’d like to point out that the Stones are now…after waiting almost 40 years…at the artistic status of their original idols who inspired them to play music in the first place (when they were 18 or 19): Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Robert Johnson, Chester Burnett, Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley. They have an archive that is truly a legendary musical legacy, and the wellspring of alot more other artist’s work and performing style than they are given credit for.

On that note, Keith, how about an album of covers in 2011 (like ‘The Rolling Stones’ and ‘The Rolling Stones No.2’?)

Secondly, while I hope they continue to write, record, and tour as well, I am thrilled that they are FINALLY starting to really open the archives and share the ‘backdrop’ (outtakes and demos)/missing pieces (extended Ya Yas) of all their renowned recordings and tours…that could carry them commercially for another 40 years if they never recorded another note or played live again! Keep it coming fellows.

FOOTNOTE: the bonus footage of Stargroves (particularly) and Olympic, accompanied by Jagger and Watts commentary, was worth the price of the DVD alone (for me anyway).
Rating: 4 / 5

I agree with the previous reviewer — at just about an hour, “Stones in Exile” seems to wrap up just as it’s getting going, and as a consequence it leaves a lot of biographical territory unexplored (“Hello, Gram Parsons?”).

And yet … this is so much better than I was expecting. Aside from opening and closing segments featuring interviews with celebrity fans of “Exile on Main St.,” the bulk of the movie is a well-choreographed montage of clips (footage from “C.S. Blues” and “Ladies & Gentleman…” plus home movies) and photographs (largely by Dominique Tarle, whose book “Exile” is about $1,000 beyond most fans’ price ranges).

I had no idea there was so much period material out there, and the filmmakers structure it with the songs perfectly. The resulting whole does a great job of putting “Exile” into the context of the Stones’ history as well as the era in which it was made. Interview audio from the band as well as producer Jimmy Miller, engineer Andy Johns, label head Marshall Chess, actor Jake Weber (who remarkably was, at the time, the son of a member of the Stones’ entourage) and Bobby Keyes (who, decades after the fact, still sounds elated to have been there) round out the reporting. And the film also occasionally just sits back and lets songs play out.

I’m frequently disappointed in music docs, and as a longtime fan of “Exile” I was prepared to be let down (much as I was with the recently released “sweetened” extra tracks on the “Exile re-release). But this movie gets so much right, I can’t begrudge its brevity. I’ve seen much longer documentaries that were a lot worse.
Rating: 4 / 5

This DVD is an incredible inside look at the making of one of the greatest albums in rock and roll history. Watching this documentary will help you understand just why Exile On Main Street was such an important album, even if people at the time didn’t quite see that right away. The biggest surprise of the DVD was the huge amount of “home movie” video that was shot in Nellcote, France. Coupled with the extensive narration from almost all of the participants, including all of the Stones, you can just about imagine what it was like to have been there.

Sure, it could have been longer, but at one hour, it NEVER drags. The (gratefully) brief interviews with current musicians are totally unnecessary, but made worthwhile just to hear Sheryl Crow unwittingly tell us how cool she thinks she is.

And regarding Gram Parsons lack of recognition in the film, he musically influenced Keith, and he WAS upstairs doing lots of drugs (which ultimately got him an invitation to leave), but beyond some uncredited backing vocals, he made no direct contribution to the album itself.
Rating: 5 / 5

STONES IN EXILE could’ve been a lot better than it is. The package says the film runs 145 minutes with bonus features, but the main feature is just over an hour. It’s a puff piece to promote the recent EXILE ON MAIN STREET CD. Very little depth. Of the bonus features, it’s amusing to watch Bill Wyman talk about Keef. I wish I had more to say — after all, it’s a documentary concerning the Stones’s most creative period — but there’s so little substance to the thing.
Rating: 3 / 5

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