The old axiom of “opposites attract” doesn’t come close to encapsulating the pairing of Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, whose partnership helped nurture the career of one of the biggest rock bands of the ’60s. Lambert was gay, an officer in the British Army, and came from an upper-class family. Stamp, the brother of actor Terence Stamp, came from a working-class family. He entered the arts as a worker backstage at the ballet, with the goal of meeting girls. The two met while they worked at Shepperton Film Studios, where each worked as an assistant director while dreaming of making their own films. They came up with a way to achieve their dreams: document the London music scene by following an up-and-coming band once known as (and soon to return to the name) The Who.
Lambert & Stamp is a surprisingly frank documentary that finds those alive for interviews, including both Chris and Terence Stamp as well as The Who’s Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, offer expansive room to reminisce about Lambert and Stamp’s time with The Who, including the conflicts that ultimately led to The Who’s decision to split from Lambert and Stamp in the early 70s. Chris Stamp’s presence is the strongest part of the film; he candidly talks about all aspects of his relationship with The Who.
It’s worth noting that having more than a passing knowledge of The Who and the scene in which the bulk of this story takes place will likely enhance one’s viewing of the film; the film largely focuses on Lambert and Stamp’s relationship with that band, while occasionally referencing their work with other acts like Jimi Hendrix. But it’s still fascinating to watch, as it’s clear that those involved, including Stamp, are still trying to figure out exactly what happened in the dissolution of this partnership. As for the plans to launch a film career, those were knocked over for full-time jobs as managers for musicians. It goes to show what happens when two people are brought together in an attempt to create something they may not be able to tackle on their own.