Lambert and Stamp appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a more than acceptable documentary presentation.
Modern footage looked fine, as these clips were reasonably crisp and detailed – at least given the limitations of the effort’s native 16mm format. Jagged edges and moiré effects seemed absent, and I witnessed no signs of edge enhancement or source defects. Due to the settings in which they were shot, the colors remained subdued, but they appeared acceptably fill. Black levels were pretty dense and tight as well.
A mix of sources constituted the rest of the film. Some of it seemed reasonably accurate and clean, but lots of it appeared pretty ugly. Source flaws became a major issue in the archival elements, and sharpness was lackluster. The movie still presented the material appropriately, but the mix of good and bad left this as a “B-”.
While not dazzling, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Lambert was fine given the film’s scope. As one might expect, music dominated the track. Various songs spread across the front speakers in a satisfying way, and the surround channels added good reinforcement.
Non-musical elements had less to do. Speech remained focused in the front center – with only an occasional spread to the side - while effects only sporadically appeared at all, much less around the soundfield. And that was perfectly appropriate for this movie; it’s about music, so that side of things should dominate.
Audio quality was positive. Music varied due to the mix of source elements but usually seemed solid. Speech was also a major aspect of the track. Dialogue came across just fine, as the comments always appeared natural and distinctive. The occasional effects were accurate and clear. The soundtrack offered an appropriately limited scope, and it merited a “B”.
The Blu-ray provides a good array of extras, and these start with an audio commentary from director James D. Cooper. He presents a running look at the project’s development and long path to the screen, the various participants and situations, cinematography, editing and constructing the film, and additional thoughts about the tales the flick tells.
You’ll note I didn’t refer to this as a screen-specific commentary. Cooper chats in a manner that touches on a variety of film topics but these virtually never connect to the action we see.
Which is fine with me, at least when Cooper gives us strong information, which he does much of the time. He may not follow a concise “screen-specific” path, but Cooper reveals a nice array of details.
For a while, at least. When the movie reaches 1969 and Tommy, Cooper goes MIA for an extended period, and he chats only sporadically the rest of the way. Given his chattiness prior to that point, his disappearance becomes a surprise. Cooper still offers a good commentary, but he vanishes too much of the time.
Some archival elements appear next. We get The Who In Finland (9:02), The Who Promotional Film 1967 (2:02), ”Where the Action Is” Archival Footage (5:21) and ”Call Me Lightning” Archival Footage (2:07). “Finland” shows the band’s visit there circa 1966, I’m guessing. We see the Who at the airport and hear some comments from Townshend and Entwistle. A few seconds of the band on stage as well, though it seems to be from a different visit – unless Entwistle grew a mustache in very short order. “Finland” is decent as a historical bit but not especially interesting.
“Promotional Film” alternates stage footage with a little vignette of the Who on a drive. It comes without sound, which limits its value. “Action” gives us some comments about the band’s look/success, while “Lightning” presents silent footage of the Who as they pretend to use explosives. Though some of the same material appears in the film, “Action” comes with useful notes. “Lightning” is just odd and confusing.
Next comes a Q&A with director James D. Cooper and musician Henry Rollins. They discuss aspects of the film’s creation as well as reflections on its subjects. Rollins becomes a lively questioner and this ends up as an informative chat.
The disc opens with ads for Whiplash, Saint Laurent, Aloft, Testament of Youth, Jimmy’s Hall and Infinitely Polar Bear. We also find the trailer for Lambert.
With Lambert and Stamp, we view the history of the Who from the management perspective. Though not a total success, the movie usually offers a strong look at its subjects and their lives/careers. The Blu-ray provides mostly good picture and audio as well as a fairly solid set of supplements. Fans of the Who will find this to be required viewing.