The Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter

The Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter

DVD - 2000
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A documentary on the Rolling Stones' 1969 tour of the United States, including a performance at Madison Square Garden and a free concert at the Altamont Speedway in California where violence broke out between fans and Hell's Angels who were providing security. Includes performances by Ike and Tina Turner, the Jefferson Airplane and the Flying Burrito Brothers. This special version also contains never-before-seen performances from the Madison Square Garden show, audio commentary by directors Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, excerpts from KSAN Radio's Altamont wrap-up, an Altamont stills gallery featuring the work of photographers Bill Owens and Beth Sunflower, original and re-release theatrical trailers, plus trailers for Maysles films Grey gardens and Salesman, filmographies for Maysles Films and Charlotte Zwerin, and a restoration demonstration.
Publisher: [United States] : Criterion Collection, c2000
Edition: 30th anniversary version
ISBN: 9780780023819
Branch Call Number: DVD ROL
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (91 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet (43 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 19 cm.)
Alternative Title: Gimme shelter


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Feb 23, 2018

It's a bit glib to say that Gimme Shelter is the obverse of Woodstock, but not inapt, I think. What is beautiful (at least, occasionally) in Woodstock--the skin and hair, the stoned grins, the flailing limbs of dancers to the music--isn't in Gimme Shelter. The interruptions of the warm-up acts, especially to Jefferson Airplane's set, are plain ugly even before the more serious mayhem that broke out during the mainliners' act. Too many audience members' faces look hungover and/or drugged-out, apprehensive rather than happy. Though it's impossible to blame the Stones for what happened--Jagger and Charlie Watts are clearly dismayed and impotently angry while watching the rushes--their hits of the time ("Street Fighting Man", "Sympathy for the Devil", "Gimme Shelter") had nothing to do with flower power and much more to do with extreme discontent--and they never wrote anything like them after Altamont. Music has power, art has power, as perhaps the Stones' entire 1969 tour demonstrated, ultimately explosively at Altamont. This film's makers, the Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, probably never made a more important film (with the exception, it may be, of Salesman).

Apr 15, 2017

I watched this film again after many years and still find it fascinating. I also recently read Joel Selvin's book, 'Altamont : the Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels, and the Inside Story of Rock's Darkest Day,' which is very good and provides a lot of context for what happens in the movie. For all the chaos and violence depicted in 'Gimme Shelter', the scene that stands out most for me is the one with the Stones at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios blissfully listening to a playback of the just-recorded 'Wild Horses.'

Aug 18, 2016

A great documentary of a legendary benefit concert that seems to have been managed by an organization called Murphy's Law: If it could go wrong, it did. Yet, the music played, and the times are presented right in one's face like they really were. Besides, where else would you ever see the notorious Hell's Angel leader Sonny Barger not only on film but on stage arguing with the Rolling Stones. Then you hear that Jefferson Airplane's lead singer Marty Palin got knocked out by a punch from a Hell's Angel. I only wonder what he must've said to them to get that. The music is glorious, Tina Turner marvelous and good lookin'. You weren't there; this is a way to pretend you were, with a one-of-a-kind stage pass.

Nov 10, 2015

Meh. I'm a big Stones fan but am learning that I am not so much a fan of Maysles films. Muddy sound, so-so cinematography (I do understand they were often filming in less-than-desirable circumstances).

I have seen this Maysles Bros. film several times over the years. I have always enjoyed it, but watching it recently, it blew me away. GIMME SHELTER documents the Rolling Stones' U.S. tour at the end of 1969. There is quite a lot of footage of the Stones performing at Madison Square Garden that November (the same concert featured on GET YER YA-YA'S OUT). What struck me was how lifeless the band -- Mick Taylor, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts -- is behind the prancing, preening Jagger. Robotic but kicking out the jams like no other. Amazing, full-bodied, precise rock'n'roll. Then the Stones are at Muscle Shoals to cut some new tracks ("Brown Sugar"). Then it's off to San Francisco to haggle (Melvin Belli representing the band) over a location for a free concert. The Stones missed out on Woodstock and were trying to recreate the magic. What follows is a movie masterpiece: the Hell's Angels riot at Altamont Speedway where a homicide, a knifing, is caught on film. The murder takes place while Jagger is performing "Under My Thumb." It is a truly awesome scene. There are two young Hippies, a guy and a girl, standing right in front of Jagger while Jagger is looking out into the crowd as the Angels attack people. The camera catches the young Hippie guy slowly shaking his head at Jagger and mouthing, "No. No." It is like seeing a Biblical event take place in real time.

Feb 10, 2012

This is much more than another concert album by the Stones. This is a documentary of a tragic event, the knifing and death of a man in front of the stage as Jagger sang. The Sixties were not all love and flowers, and many youth were pushy to the point of violence. See the Isle of Wight concert film from 1970. At Altamont, poor planning and control allowed events to get out of hand. Jagger - seen to have the audience in his hands in many concert settings - clearly was powerless in this case. The music dominates the first half of this documentary, but events take over in the second half, as the maelstrom began to spiral. The accompanying booklet includes several essays by participants in events, which give the film a context.

rocknrollphilip Dec 22, 2011

What I find particularly interesting about the dvd re-issue of this brilliant work is the essay booklet inside. One significant fact revealed in one of the essays, though not in the movie itself, is that a dispute over RIGHTS for the film is what necessitated the last minute relocation to the speedway.

Aug 04, 2010

The Stones of the late 60's and early 70's are a disease I've never gotten over. Let It Bleed, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main St. have fascinated me since I was in my mid-teens.

I watch this film every year. At first, it was for the music, but now that I've begun to understand the cultural and political milieu of the Bay Area at that time, it takes on the inexorability of a Greek tragedy or a train wreck. Or a Greek train wreck. Interesting related material is Sam Culter's recent memoir, and Hunter Thompson's "Hell's Angels".

Favorite moment? It's a toss-up, between Keef wiggling to Brown Sugar, and Mick Taylor listening to Wild Horses.


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