The 50th Anniversary of the tumultuous anti-establishment Paris protests of May '68 which eventually brought the entire economy of France to a standstill is upon us, as is the anniversary of the acclaimed French film director Jean-Luc Godard's ''One Plus One'' starring the Rolling Stones from the same year—an early example of work made during what is now regarded as his revolutionary period. The film was still in the production stages when this Rave magazine interview with producer Iain Quarrier (who also had an acting role in it) was originally published, and although Quarrier wasn't entirely sure at this point whether or not his own part would make it into the final edit, he was emphatic about one thing—that this was not a Rolling Stones' film—it was a Godard film! However, upon its release, it transpired that Quarrier/Cupid Productions had made just two but nonetheless very significant changes which altered that balance. Firstly, before the London Premiere, without Godard's knowledge or permission, he chose to re-edit the final scene to include the fully completed version of 'Sympathy for the Devil' which is the opening track on Beggars Banquet—the Rolling Stones' seventh studio album, documented in the making by Godard throughout the entire recording process as it evolved at Olympic Studios, in Barnes, West London...then renamed the film title after it accordingly. It's probably needless to say that these changes caused quite a bit of friction between the two men, and also created a marketing nightmare as both versions were released simultaneously, often screening at the same theatres, adding to the controversy and confusion. Much has been written on the subject over the years, so I've included several links at the end of this post to some of the best that I've found as I sifted through all of the news, reviews, personal accounts, and critiques. However, if you're in the London area, you can see what all the fuss is about for yourself this very week, as One Plus One (or perhaps Sympathy for the Devil) + Intro by Alex Loftus and Mark Shiel from King’s College London will be screening as part of the BFI's Uprising: The Spirit of ’68 Season on Tuesday, 22nd May 2018. And I would also suggest that you check out Rainbow Quarrier, a comprehensive overview of Iain Quarrier's career. I'm surprised that there hasn't been a book or documentary about this man yet, there's certainly enough material and 'Swinging London' backstory there for one, or maybe both!
Exclusive to RAVE, a report of the Rolling Stones' first film, ''One Plus One''...It's been three long years since the Rolling Stones first announced their intention to become film stars. It took almost a year for them to discover that they wanted to do '''Only Lovers Left Alive''. By the time they almost got down to starting it, they had changed their minds. And their own personal problems of last year set them back, film-wise, even further. These troubles cropped up once again this year, when after a year's break from the pop world, and just at the point of their 'comeback', which they celebrated with a No.1 record, ''Jumping Jack Flash'', Brian Jones was involved once again in the most unfortunate, drug charges publicity. The old Stones magic is still there, and fortunately so was Brian Jones, for the shooting of their first film ''One Plus One''. It was directed by French avant-garde director, Jean-Luc Godard, and produced by Cupid Productions, the company founded by the Hon. Michael Pearson and Canadian actor Iain Quarrier. The Stones, as always in times of trouble, were hard to get hold of, but producer Quarrier was available to comment on the film. ''The idea was brought to me and I liked it. We wanted to do this film very much, especially with Godard. It's quite a fantastic opportunity to do this, Cupid's first film—and one so big.'' Quarrier has also got a part in this, Godard's first English speaking film, but ''This is really the last thing on my mind at the moment. I'll be very pleased if I am used by him in the film, but it's not definite. He switches around so much that you just don't know what is going to happen next. Nothing is certain.'' Films and film are not new to Quarrier, from the other side of the camera. He's appeared in ''Cul de Sac'' and ''The Vampire Killers'' with ''Wonderwall'' and Roman Polanski's ''Dance of the Vampires'' to come—quite an impressive score.
''This is not a Rolling Stones film, it's a Jean-Luc Godard Film!'' Iain Quarrier
'Godard bases his film on a sort of treatment'' he went on. ''It's all improvisation with the people he uses. He uses people naturally, experimentally. He let's them be themselves. There's never any kind of script, as such.'' How did the Rolling Stones come to be chosen out of all the groups on the pop scene? It was once suggested that the Beatles were very interested in doing this film, but the Stones were chosen as being more suitable. At the mention of the Stones, Quarrier insisted, ''This is not a Rolling Stones' film, it's a Jean-Luc Godard film! The Stones were chosen because we liked them the most, and they seemed much more suitable. Godard's long been an admirer of their creative and musical talent. He just adores them, and they fit in with the whole project of this film.'' ''One Plus One'' will be based on parallel themes of construction and destruction. The destruction side comes in the form of the old, but ever popular, eternal love triangle, which in this case ends in suicide. Terence Stamp has been approached for a part, but nothing, as yet, has been signed on the dotted line. As far as construction goes, there's the Rolling Stones cutting a record in the Olympic Recording Studio in London. Both situations take place in the same, in the same time —London.
''Things are going very well. We all roll up at the studio, and Godard and his camera crew are ready to shoot.'' Mick Jagger
How are the Stones shaping up? ''Well, they're just fantastic. Basically it's just the Stones being themselves. Acting as they act in the studio, talking as they talk, all very natural. We were very fortunate to get them. I can't really say more about the film, because with Godard, it's very difficult to say what is actually happening until you've seen the the finished film.'' As for the Stones themselves, they love Godard, and it's all really sort of a mutual admiration society, which can only bring out the best in people. Says Mick, ''Things are going very well. We all roll up at the studio, and Godard and his camera crew are ready to shoot what is to be shot. When there was the fire at at the studio, Godard quickly filmed it—then we ran for our lives!'' Apparently, while the Stones, along with Marianne Faithful, were at the studio, the roof burst into flames and started to collapse. All the Stones equipment was damaged by debris and water. ''It was a pretty fantastic blaze,'' said Mick. ''It was a good job it was the roof. We saw it coming! It was filmed, so there's a small chance it may be included in the film.'' What Godard is actually shooting is the Stones cutting their latest album. ''Beggars Banquet'', released on July 26th, which is Mick's birthday, filming the recording, the hang-ups, everything as it happens. Said Keith, ''We made our album and we were filmed at the same time. That's the way he does things. He films a bit, then he takes a look at it and decides what to do next. That's the way we like to work too.'' When you will see the film depends on a lot of things. How quickly Godard edits the film, and if there are any more riots in Paris where he works, are factors! Nevertheless, wait and watch out for ''One Plus One''. It all sounds rather interesting, and the Stones captured on celluloid for posterity a very rare milestone in movie history!
Above: The official Cupid Productions trailer for Sympathy for the Devil (1968). But, in spite of the Rave magazine headline, this, as we all know, was not the Rolling Stones first film. Peter Whitehead had previously shot the Stones in 1965 over a three day period as they embarked on a two-date tour of Ireland. The film would premiere a year later as 'Charlie is my Darling' before disappearing from public view after a management change, resurfacing thereafter over the years that followed via poor quality bootleg copies, or at the occasional screening, before eventually seeing an official release by ABKCO Films in 2012.
The Heart of Occident
The aforementioned studio fire, Terence Stamp, and also the narrative regarding the 'eternal love triangle' ending in a suicide may not have made it into the finished version of the film, but Iain Quarrier certainly did, resplendent in purple corduroy, as a bookseller of pornographic literature, reading aloud from Mein Kampf.
|Iain Quarrier - One Plus One (Dir. Jean-Luc Godard - 1968) courtesy of Cupid Productions Ltd. (Note: *All wardrobe Department/Costume Design information absent from the film credits).|
IMAGE CREDITS, LINKS, & FURTHER READING
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from an original article in Rave Magazine, August 1968. Read an edited transcript of an interview with the director, made for the BBC TV programme Release in November 1968: One to One: Jean-Luc Godard Speaks, and also The Rolling Stone Interview (1969)—A look behind the lens at the famed French new wave director of 'Breathless' and 'Band of Outsiders'. One Plus One, the original version of Godard's 'Sympathy for the Devil' film, is shown to benefit filmmakers organization (April 2, 1970). The Depiction of late 1960s Counter Culture in the 1968 films of Jean-Luc Godard'. Mim Scala: Diary of a Teddy Boy- a Memoir of the Long Sixties—Chapter 18 provides an excellent behind the scenes insight into the making of the film. A look at the events and some of the causes of the uprising in France in the Spring of 1968 - including footage of protests by Godard and Truffaut in defence of Henri Langlois who had been dismissed from his position as co-founder and director at the Cinémathèque Française. The Story Of Olympic Studios—an interview with studio engineer Keith Grant. Discover more about the actor Sean Lynch, who although unseen in One Plus One, can be heard as a constant narrative throughout the film, and you can also view the man behind the voice—Sean Lynch photographed outside Paddington Registry Office on the day of his wedding to English Jazz singer Annie Ross, in London, August 19th 1963. Separation (Dir. Jack Bond - 1968) Starring Iain Quarrier (*with clothes from Granny Takes a Trip, Quorum, and The Carrot on Wheels). Cupid Productions Ltd the company responsible for two of the classic films of the 1960s and 1970s: the car chase cult movie Vanishing Point, directed by Richard C. Sarafian and the Rolling Stones movie Sympathy for the Devil, aka One Plus One, directed by Jean-Luc Godard. From Paris in the Sinister Sixties to Hollywood’s Magic Castle: Cult Horror actor Ferdy Mayne recalled, among other things, Quarrier as ''a central supplier of the chemicals, mostly acid, that kept the scene soaring at its stratospheric level.'' Mia Farrow, the American actress, used a four-letter word at Bow Street Court, London, yesterday, when she was called as a witness in the case against Canadian producer Iain Quarrier (16th November 1968). Jagger vs Lennon: London's riots of 1968 provided the backdrop to a rock 'n' roll battle royale. Some more Rolling Stones on film: Charlie is my Darling (Original 1965 cut); The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (1968); Gimme Shelter (1970); Performance (1970) plus, be sure to keep an eye out for the forthcoming limited edition, large format book by author Jay Glennie, with new & unseen images marking the 50th Anniversary of Performance starring Mick Jagger, James Fox, and Anita Pallenberg, available for pre-order soon!; Ned Kelly (1970); Cocksucker Blues (1972); Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones (1974); The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll movie never made—Only Lovers Left Alive. And finally, The Radical Film Network's 1968 Festival Programme—a worldwide programme of film-based events and discussions around the legacy and potential of 1968 in the popular imagination.