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The Punk Rock Movie – Documentary [1978]

The Punk Rock Movie was assembled from Super 8 camera footage shot by Don Letts, the disc jockey at The Roxy club during the early days of the UK punk rock movement, principally during the 100 days in 1977 in which punk acts were featured at The Roxy club in London. HISTORY Roxy club disc jockey Don Letts was given a Super 8 camera as a present by fashion editor Caroline Baker. When Letts started to film the acts at The Roxy, it was soon reported that he was making a movie, so Letts determined to film continuously for three months. He needed to sell his possessions in order to continue to purchase film. A preliminary, 60-minute version of the film was shown in autumn of 1977 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. This resulted in the cover story, “Punk Home Movies” in Time Out magazine. The film features live footage of The Clash, Sex Pistols, Wayne County & the Electric Chairs, Generation X, Slaughter and the Dogs, The Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Eater, Subway Sect, X-Ray Spex, Alternative TV and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers. Backstage footage of certain bands, such as Generation X, The Slits and Siouxsie and the Banshees, is also included. All live footage was shot at the Roxy, except that of the Sex Pistols, who were filmed at The Screen On The Green cinema in London on 3 April 1977. The performance was Sid Vicious’ first public concert with the band. The film was subject to limited theatrical release in 1978. It was also subject to limited video release at that time by Sun Video (1978) and Danton Video (1980). It was also released on video in 1992 by Studio K7. Versions of the film were released on DVD between 2006 and 2008, though these releases were subject to criticism for sound reproduction and digital transfers that were considered to be inferior to the original. In addition, concerns were expressed that the soundtrack now included overdubbed material, as opposed to the original live recordings.

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