• Sex Pistols On TV - The TV Interviews Uncensored

    Released by: MVD Visual
    Released on: August 12th, 2014.
    Director: N/A
    Cast: The Sex Pistols
    Year: Various
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    The Movie:

    The Sex Pistols were no strangers to publicity by the time they split up and this compilation of TV news clips and interviews, mostly taken from various British televisions sources makes that painfully obvious. They played it up for the cameras and the results were often quite amusing.

    This two hour collection of material includes interviews with the band from their early days through to the last reunion making some interesting stops in between and along the way. The early footage shows a band hungry to make an impression, a group of unruly young men who really and truly wanted to shake things up. Rotten is more often than not the one doing most of the talking, he’s the mouth piece for the band and rightly so as he’s quite good on his feet and has no problem dishing it back to quite a few interviewers who obviously don’t quite ‘get’ the band. Some of the early stuff here has been seen before but it’s still a blast revisiting it, particularly once we get to the ill-fated American tour and we see some footage from the Texas stop. Here Sid Vicious, looking pretty out of it, speaks to a camera for a minute and details his counter culture pedigree – “When I was younger I was a Teddy Boy, then for two years I was a skinhead, and for the last two years I’ve been a punk.” Thanks Sid. Good thing you looked the part. His death and the murder of Nancy Spungen is also covered here, though the news reports that are used here won’t be all that unfamiliar to most who have an interest in this release in the first place.

    Once the band breaks up we get some genuinely interesting interviews with Rotten, now Lydon, speaking openly about getting screwed over by Malcolm McLaren. In one interview that takes place in between the end of the Pistols and the birth of P.I.L. he walks around town in a mad hatter’s outfit talking to the interviewer about the pros and cons of his past band’s quick career. He makes some interesting observations here and mentions practicing with other musicians daily. Sure enough, P.I.L. was born and then we get some great interviews from early in that band’s career too, including one from a music show called Check It Out where Lydon gets fed up and walks off the set. McLaren shows up here too, talking about his involvement in the birth of punk rock and in typical Malcolm McLaren style, taking credit for pretty much everything. He and Vivienne Westwood are interviewed separately and give somewhat conflicting reports about how they got together and started designing clothes and creating the style that the Sex Pistols would help to make famous.

    The later era material is also pretty amusing as once again Rotten is the band’s spokesman. He talks quite openly about how he and the rest of the band made very little money in their original incarnation and that the reunion is a way to correct that. They make no qualms about doing it for the money and that honesty is refreshing in its own way.

    There’s a bit more McLaren here than some might want and yeah, really only the first twenty to thirty minutes is ‘original Pistols’ material but some of this eighties and nineties stuff is fairly interesting and far less common to see. One issue with this release, however, is that nobody bothered to clear the music rights so whenever music is used, we get a generic sounding ‘Sex Pistols-ish’ guitar sound overtop of what should be familiar tracks from their catalogue. It’s obvious that this is a rights issue and it is entirely possible that it was an unavoidable one at that, but it is hard not to notice it. Regardless, this probably isn’t something that most will watch over and over again and it’s a whole lot of content to take in at one time, but fans ought to appreciate seeing some of the rarer footage contained on this DVD.


    The material on this disc was all shot and obviously broadcast in 1.33.1 fullframe but for reasons known only to the disc’s producers the content has been cropped to appeal to those with 1.78.1 sets. As such, it’s common to notice that the tops of peoples’ heads or the bottoms of their chins have been cut off. It’s annoying. As to the image quality outside of the cropping, it’s fine so long as you understand that pretty much all of it is taken from old archival tape sources.

    The audio is handled by way of an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Mix and it’s on par with the video. Some of the archival clips, the older ones in particular, sound a bit rough but for the most part you can make it all out. Expect a bit of hiss here and there. There are no subtitles or alternate audio options provided.

    The sole extra on the disc, outside of a menu and chapter selection, is a twenty-minute promo for what would appear to be an upcoming feature length documentary on Sid Vicious. The promo clip features varying opinions on his merits in musical history, with one commentator calling him a ‘big fat pimple on the arse of punk rock!’

    The Final Word:

    Sex Pistols On TV features over two hours of archival television footage from the early days through to the later reunion shows covering most stops in between. The quality varies from one clip to the next and some bits are more interesting than others but die-hard fans (not so much casual ones) and completists will appreciate having all of this stuff in one place, even if the cropping is annoying and completely unnecessary.