The Rolling Stones

Truth & Lies

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There are a bunch of DVDs purporting to offer an interesting historical overview of the Rolling Stones, and while this isn't the worst of them, it's a dissatisfying, fragmentary survey that offers little in the way of either comprehensive coverage or fresh insight. A major handicap that will annoy even the least discerning Stones fan is the absence of actual musical footage of the band, in either the principal 55-minute feature or the bonus segments. The main feature offers an extremely basic history of the group, with the help of interviews from commentators who are no one's idea of close associates of the group, even though they include a couple of reasonably well-known rock critics (Chris Welch and Paul Gambaccini) and a lawyer who did some work for them in the '60s (Tim Hardacre). As far as relatively unseen material that might spark the curiosity of the hardcore Stones fan, it's mostly in the shape of excerpts from newsreel footage and press conferences. A few scenes here and there are amusing or interesting, such as period footage of Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, and Brian Jones dealing with their court cases in the late '60s, or the pie-throwing party to celebrate the release of Beggars Banquet. Unless you get excited by glimpses of arrivals and departures, however, it's easily missable. Oddly enough, the bonus features are more interesting to watch, even if they wouldn't be considered essential by admirers of the Rolling Stones. These include an eight-minute interview with Hardacre; a 1967 interview with Jagger about his drug bust; the 1964 short Rolling Stones Gather Moss, which cruelly does not include the end, where they take the stage to lip-sync to "Around and Around"; footage of Jagger's chaotic, celebrity-strewn early-'70s wedding; and strange, cheesy circa 1966-1967 newsreel footage about Swinging London, with even stranger footage of a couple no-name psychedelic and mod bands (and no Rolling Stones footage whatsoever).