Gimme Shelter

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: [S.l.] : Criterion Collection, c2000.
Branch Call Number: 782.4216 GIM
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 91 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet, 43 p.
Additional Contributors: Criterion Collection (Firm)
Alternative Title: Rolling Stones 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).

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).

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.

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