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IT’S ONLY ROCK ’N’ ROLL: THE ROLLING STONES IN FILM

Robert Frank, Cocksucker Blues, 1972, 16 mm, color and black- and-white, sound, 93 minutes. Mick Jagger. Photo: Photofest.

As the “world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band” celebrates its golden jubilee this year, the Museum of Modern Art in New York pays tribute with a heady cinematic survey: “THE ROLLING STONES: 50 YEARS OF FILM” (NOVEMBER 15–DECEMBER 2). But 2012 marks another anniversary as well. Forty years ago, the Stones embarked on a legendary tour to promote their new album, Exile on Main St., and they engaged two very different filmmakers—Robert Frank and Rollin Binzer—to document the affair on celluloid, producing wildly divergent results: Cocksucker Blues and Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones, respectively. Film historian DAVID E. JAMES traces the events that would ultimately transform the band’s extraordinary engagement with the medium—and with the very public on which not only their stardom but their cultural significance depended.

WITH THE BEATLES’ FINAL PERFORMANCE on

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