Vintage Movies: “Charlie Is My Darling”

MAGNET contributing writer Jud Cost is sharing some of the wealth of classic films he’s been lucky enough to see over the past 40 years. Trolling the backwaters of cinema, he has worked up a list of more than 500 titles—from the silent era through the ’00s—that you may have missed. A new selection, all currently available on DVD, appears every week.

rollingstones

Charlie Is My Darling (1965, 90 minutes)

The Rolling Stones in 1965 were something to behold. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” had just terrorized the charts, and the Stones were a dead certainty for stardom. Especially striking are Mick Jagger and Brian Jones (who died in in 1969), the two pinup boys of the band. Jagger did almost all the talking-head segments for this beautifully shot but never released black-and-white doc. He waxes on about why this was happening to them in Ireland, just weeks before a crushing tidal wave would envelope America with a force that still resonates today. The Animals and the Dave Clark 5 would never again be considered serious contenders for the Beatles’ throne once the Stones sunk their hooks into America.

“Pop music is ephemeral,” says Jagger. “When we first got into the charts we figured we’d be around for about a year, and then it’s all gonna be over.” Then it’s a quick cut to a teenage Irish girl, waiting in a queue outside the theater where the Stones are playing tonight. She’s asked who is her favorite Rolling Stone. “I like the fella who plays the drums—Charlie.” When asked why, she answers, “I don’t know. I just like him.”

Charlie Watts, once a jazzbo, is the Stones’ drummer in question. “I can’t read music,” he confesses. “Maybe I have an inferiority complex.” Another fan favorite is Brian Jones with an almost perfect pudding basin-haircut, now grown about a month past his eyebrows and his ears. “The future as a Rolling Stone is very uncertain,” says Jones. “My aim in life was never to be a pop star. I enjoy it, with reservations.” Even during the early time frame of this feature, Jones seems somewhat marginalized by Jagger and Keith Richards, the pair who writes all the band’s original material and continue to do so.

The Stones’ creative nucleus is seen at length in a hotel room, singing and playing acoustic guitar, boucing fertile ideas off one another for tunes that would become part of their arsenal. “Tell Me” and “It’s All Right” get worked over with possible new lyrics. The capper is a terrific quick run-through of a Beatles nugget, “I’ve Just Seen A Face.” The two make it their own in no time.

The band appears at a movie theater in the outlands for a sold-out show, and the local gendarmes seem ill-preparted for what is to come down. After no more than three numbers, the stage is jumped by a small army of teenage boys intent on disrupting the proceedings. One sits on Watts’ vacated drum throne while another pats Jones on the back as he runs for the exit. Refunds are in order for the saddened cadre of Rolling Stones fanatics. Who knows, says one, if they’ll ever return.

—Jud Cost

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