The Great Rock n Roll Swindle
The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980) is a mockumentary film directed by Julien Temple and produced by Don Boyd and Jeremy Thomas.
Guitarist Steve Jones plays a detective who - through a series of set piece acts - uncovers the truth about the band. Drummer Paul Cook and bass guitarist Sid Vicious play smaller roles, and the band's manager, Malcolm McLaren, is featured as "The Embezzler", the man who manipulates the Sex Pistols. Fugitive train robber Ronnie Biggs, performer Edward Tudor-Pole, and actress Irene Handl also make appearances.
The movie tells a stylised fictional account of the formation, rise and subsequent breakup of the band, from the point of view of their then-manager Malcolm McLaren. In the film, McLaren claims to create the Sex Pistols and manipulate them to the top of the music business, using them as puppets to both further his own agenda (in his own words - "chaos"), and to claim the financial rewards from the various record labels the band were signed to during their brief history - EMI, A&M, Virgin, and Warner Bros. Records.
The footage was filmed in early - mid 1978, between singer John Lydon's departure from the band and their subsequent split. The movie was finally released nearly two years later. Lydon (who was listed in the credits as "The Collaborator") and early bass guitarist Glen Matlock only appear in archive footage - Lydon having refused to have anything to do with the production.
The 2000 documentary The Filth and the Fury, also directed by Julien Temple, retells the story of the Sex Pistols from the perspective of the band, thus serving as a response to and rebuttal of McLaren's insistence that he was the driving creative force of the band.
The Filth & The Fury
The Filth and the Fury is the second movie Julien Temple made about The Sex Pistols. His first effort was The Great Rock and Roll Swindle, which was released in British cinemas on 15 May 1980. This earlier effort was heavily criticised for being too skewed towards the Pistols' manager Malcolm McLaren's version of events about the band. The Filth and the Fury tells the story from the viewpoint of the band members themselves (albeit in silhouette during their contemporary interviews).
The title of the film is a reference to a headline that appeared in the British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mirror after an interview on ITV's Today presented by Bill Grundy. (See EMI and the Grundy incident on the Sex Pistols main article.) The title of The Daily Mirror article was itself inspired by William Faulkner's novel The Sound and the Fury
Temple's documentary charts the rise, decline and fall of the Sex Pistols from their humble beginnings in London's Shepherd's Bush to their disintegration at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Temple puts the band into historical context with Britain's social situation in the 1970s through archival footage from the period. This film was seen in some ways as an opportunity for the Pistols to tell their side of the story, mostly through interviews with the surviving members of the group, footage shot during the era, and outtakes from The Great Rock and Roll Swindle.
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