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Sex Pistols: The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle [DVD] [1980]

Release Date:05/17/2005
Julien Temple's surreal portrait of the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols as seen through the eyes of manager Malcolm McLaren comes to North American DVD in this edition from Shout Factory. The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle has been transferred to disc in the full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1; the image looks as if it was mastered from a PAL source and is a bit on the soft and murky side, but it's appreciably better than the out-of-print VHS edition from Warner Music, with the colors looking brighter and clearer. The audio has been mastered in two formats, Dolby Digital Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1, and both tracks sound good if not exceptional. The dialogue is in English, with no multiple-language options included. As a bonus, this version includes an onscreen interview with director Julien Temple, as well as a commentary track featuring Temple and rock writer Chris Salewicz, in which they discuss in detail the long and torturous road to the completion of the film (though little is made of the origins of the project with director Russ Meyer). While more of a curiosity than an honest depiction of the group's history, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle at least makes a fascinating companion piece with Temple's later film on the Sex Pistols, The Filth and the Fury.

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    Special Features

    • Interview and commentary with director Julien Temple by rock writer Chris Salewicz


    The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle
    Let Malcolm McLaren show you how to achieve fame and fortune by making your pop group the most despised band in the world! This film about the brief but eventful career of The Sex Pistols primarily focuses on McLaren, their manager, as he presents his ten-point program on how to achieve success through chaos, ineptitude, and abusing the music industry. Despite some remarkable footage of The Sex Pistols' infamous Jubilee Day performance and clips from their final concert in San Francisco, there's surprisingly little screen time devoted to the group actually performing. Instead, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle offers McLaren's agit-prop philosophies on music, culture, politics, and the entertainment industry, as well as an amusing (if often inaccurate) account of the band's rise and fall. Along the way, we're also offered some curious animated sequences, "film noir" episodes starring guitarist Steve Jones, footage of the band recording with exiled British train robber Ronnie Biggs, and Sid Vicious singing "My Way" (he had been dead for over a year by the time the movie was released). The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle began life as "Who Killed Bambi?", a project written by Roger Ebert and directed by Russ Meyer, which closed down after two days of shooting when funding fell through. By the time McLaren and Julien Temple got it off the ground (with a radically different script), Johnny Rotten had left the group, which explains why the band's front man is hardly in the movie. The rest of the group broke up a few months later. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Image coming soon
      Malcolm McLaren - 'The Embezzler'
    • Sid Vicious
      Sid Vicious - 'The Gimmick'
    • Image coming soon
      Paul Cook - 'The Tea-Maker'
    • Jess Conrad
      Jess Conrad
    • Liz Fraser
      Liz Fraser

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.