This two-hour film about the origins of The Who can be abrasive, relentless, almost difficult to get through. But it’s also very rich and somewhat innovative, kind of like the band it’s documenting.
Pete Townshend was a young art student when joined the “High Numbers.” His guitar thrashing was genuine but back then he had no expectations for the band. It was just an art project that he expected it to crash and burn in short order.
But this group ended up becoming “The Who,” and Townshend ended up writing a wildly successful rock opera called “Tommy.” Oddly it all happened because of two men named Chris Stamper and Kit Lambert.
They were best friends, one was gay, the other straight, who aimed to be filmmakers. And after a long search, they picked out this ‘mod’ band of boys to mold, manage and slowly make a film about.
Their movie never got made, but this documentary, “Lambert & Stamp,” finally was finished and released in 2014. Produced and directed by James D. Cooper, it wears on you, but it’s worth it — especially the footage of the “High Numbers” playing a gig the night Lambert and Stamp discovered them.