Stone alone

English doc filmmaker Nick Bloomfield courts controversy with some of his films such as not one but two films about Aileen Wuornos. (Wuornos’ story was dramatized in Monster winning Charlize Theron an Oscar.)

Kurt and Courtney (1998) went further than most rock docs when Bloomfield stalked Courtney Love at an awards ceremony suggesting she had a hand in the death of her husband Kurt Cobain.

One thing is certain though, Bloomfield has a penchant for getting the perfect archival clip or still living interview subject. 

The Stones and Brian Jones cuts to the heart of Brian Jones and his formation of the Rolling Stones. The doc chronicles his descent into drugs and eventual firing by fellow Stones followed by untimely death.

We observe a lot of great newsreel footage that’s new to a jaded rock documentary maven like your humble narrator. For instance, it was watching The Stones and Brian Jones which hipped me to the fact that Bob Eubanks, before hosting the television game show The Newlywed Game, was a concert promoter whose clients included The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and The Rolling Stones during their initial American tours.

Bloomfield finds perfect placement of archival clips with people known in the Swinging Sixties like Marianne Faithful, Prince Stash, and Anita Pallenberg, among others. There’s a cat named Tara Browne who was the Guinness heir who’s death in a car crash supposedly inspired “A Day in the Life.” They were all part of the circle that Jones ran with.

But it’s recent interviews Bloomfield culls with Jones’ girlfriends like French actress Zouzou that add a sense of depth to the film’s quest to get into Jones’ mindset. Bill Wyman is the only Stone who contributed and his recollections are like the icing on the cake.

Jones was the one who would play different instruments, like the marimba or sitar. Wyman recounts how Jones use of a recorder on “Ruby Tuesday” became a signature of that now classic rock standard. Wyman describes Brian’s style of going up and down the scale as his woodwind performance on ‘Ruby’ accentuates the story.

There are a lot of Stones documentaries including The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, which gets a brief shout out here, yet consistently The Stones and Brian Jones comes off as one of the best.

The Stones and Brian Jones unwinds theatrically, one-night on Tuesday, November 7 followed by streaming debut November 17.


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