In this fascinating talk authors Noel McLaughlin and Joanna Braniff examine the ‘lost’ debut film made for The Rolling Stones in 1965. The film, titled Charlie Is My Darling, was directed by Peter Whitehead and invokes not only the spirit of the United Irishmen but also directly links the disintegrating political and social circumstances in Belfast to the Civil Rights actions in the United States.

Independent scholar, Joanna Braniff worked with Noel McLaughlin, a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies for the Department of Arts at Northumbria University on their latest book ‘How Belfast Got the Blues – A Cultural History of Popular Music in the 1960s.’ In the book the authors look at the music scene in Northern Ireland, presenting evidence that popular music in Northern Ireland was central to the politics of the time, in ways not previously understood or explored. 

Braniff and McLoughlin weave a fascinating account of the popular-musical culture and local ‘scene’ in Northern Ireland with the broader and highly complex context social-political milieu. How Belfast Got the Blues has been recently nominated for the 2021 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.

The talk, which takes place on the 26th March will introduce and discuss Charlie My Darling, a film shot for the Rolling Stones between the cities of Belfast and Dublin. Through a bazaar set of circumstances when the film was completed it went missing for nearly 50 years, only reemerging in a heavily modified form on a collector’s DVD in 2012. Many of those who worked on the film were profoundly affected from the fallout proceeding the production. 

Offering a historically grounded analysis of the film the authors contextualise its images of Ireland and consider how they connect with the band’s performances, namely ‘Satisfaction’. The talk will also explore how controversial director, Whitehead’s collectivist ambitions and cinema verité style frames these.

Braniff and McLoughlin will open-up the connections between the film’s aesthetic, the group’s performance style, choice of repertoire, and Irish mise-en-scène, concluding with an explanation of how this made the political establishment in Britain and Northern Ireland nervous in the foment of the decade’s mid-point.‘The Political Power of a Film That Might Have Been’ will take place online on the 26th March from 8.30pm-9.30pm and is free of charge. For more information and to register your place visit and search for The Political Power of a Film that Might Have Been.