Mott The Hoople has slowly faded into oblivion since the 1973s All the young guys (a track written by David Bowie) and Britdoc The ballad of Mott The Hoople isn’t exactly arguing for the exhumation of the Hereford glam rockers.
Rare period footage is a lot of fun to watch.
Spine tap is in the air as this avuncular team takes directors Chris Hall and Mike Kerry through the group’s rotating lineup and thigh-high, six-inch-heeled kicked glory. The ballad of Mott The Hoople plays it directly, however, treating Mott with a severity apparently at odds with the group’s polyester budgie smugglers and ginger afros. At 105 minutes, this seriously opus is one for the fans, a strange but ardent group that backed Mott The Hoople during a five-night gig in London last year.
There’s a lot of play on the fact that Mott, led by writer / singer Ian Hunter – the most interesting personality on screen – consistently struggled to find hits, even in his prime. A hit UK live, the frustrated rockers had even split up by the time David Bowie gave them the gift guys (they refused Suffragette City) in 1973, but even this success could not prevent the inevitable slide into oblivion of rock ‘n’ roll.
Formed, and even named, by eclectic genius Guy Stevens at Island Records, the band never really had the impact we expected of them, resulting in The ballad of Mott The Hoople looking a little sorry.
Interludes which could have brightened up the debates – the pervasive madness of Stevens, leaving Island, the “scandal” behind the song on guys or even Hunter leaving the band with former Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson – are glossed over in favor of a laborious narrative that never quite connects.
Technically, Ballad sometimes struggles with its sound, but the rare vintage footage is a lot of fun to watch. By the way, it’s interesting how the glam gods have aged, some falling gracefully into the grandfather, others kicking and screaming and avoiding the dentist on the way.
Production companies: Start Productions
International sales: [email protected]
Producers: Chris Hall, Mike Kerry
Publisher: Kim Gaster