Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter

The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter

3.3 9
Director: David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Charlotte Mitchell Zwerin

Cast: David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Charlotte Mitchell Zwerin, Melvin Belli


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This musical documentary concerns the Rolling Stones and their tragic free concert at Altamont Speedway near San Francisco in early December 1969. The event was all but destroyed by violence that marked the end of the peace and love euphoria of the 1960s. The night began smoothly, with the supercharged Flying Burrito Brothers…  See more details below


This musical documentary concerns the Rolling Stones and their tragic free concert at Altamont Speedway near San Francisco in early December 1969. The event was all but destroyed by violence that marked the end of the peace and love euphoria of the 1960s. The night began smoothly, with the supercharged Flying Burrito Brothers opening up for the Rolling Stones and performing the truck-driving classic "Six Days on the Road" and Tina Turner giving a sensually charged performance. But on this particular evening, the Stones made the fateful (and disastrous) decision to hire the Oakland chapter of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang as bodyguards and bouncers. It was a foolhardy, careless choice that turned the night into an unmitigated disaster; halfway through the Stones' act, the Angels killed one black spectator, and injured several others who were present (including Jefferson Airplane's lead singer Marty Balin). In the film, we watch Mick Jagger -- ere an ebullient, charismatic performer of bisexual charm -- reduced to standing on stage like a frightened child with his finger in his mouth in wake of the violence. Unsurprisingly, the Grateful Dead refused to perform after the violence erupted; the picture ends on a despairing note, with the Stones repeatedly watching a film of the murder. Celebrated documentarians Albert and David Maysles directed and Haskell Wexler shot the film, with heightened instinct and control; as a result, this film is considered one of the greatest rock documentaries ever made. Stones songs performed include "Brown Sugar," "Under My Thumb," and "Sympathy for the Devil."

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Eddy Crouse
The rock movie's very own Zapruder film, Gimme Shelter stands today as a landmark portrait of a band and a generation that changed the stakes between the two camps forever. What starts as an electrifying document of the Rolling Stones' performances on their fiery 1969 American tour switches to an inquiry into the satanic Altamont concert where Hell's Angels -- hired by the group itself -- effectively stomped out the last shreds of '60s Utopia. Obviously, the Stones had no idea what was to happen at Altamont when they hired directors David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin. They simply didn't like how they looked a year earlier when Jean-Luc Godard showed them creating, and seemingly never finishing, "Sympathy for the Devil," in his lethargic, hypnotic same-titled film. The Maysleses and Zwerin fulfill their obligation to catch the fervor and brilliance of live Stones shows -- particularly in songs like "Honky Tonk Women" and "Street Fighting Man." They also, in the process, happen to catch a fan being stabbed in a crowd, footage that they then run past singer Mick Jagger. This snippet makes Gimme Shelter cut deeper than any rock documentary: Jagger's bitter expression as he shakes his head at his own arrogance and naivete is a remarkable moment. Bouncing between the band's debauched tour lifestyle (including a shaggy, funny session mixing "Wild Horses") and the fateful, ultraviolent California show, Gimme Shelter lets it all hang out. This 30th Anniversary DVD edition boasts a new, loud DTS version of the soundtrack, deleted scenes and radio excerpts from the live KSAN broadcast of the four-hour show, as well as a booklet of essays on both the tour and the cultural climate of the 1960s. This is a documentary and a document that is truly worthy of such elaborate treatment.
All Movie Guide
A dark counterpoint to the lovefest of the film Woodstock, this documentary about the Rolling Stones' 1969 American concert tour centers on the hallucinatory nightmare of the Altamont Music Festival. The free rock concert attracted 300,000 fans. The Stones hired members of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang to conduct security, but the gang ended up implicated in a fan riot which left one person dead. Cinematographer Haskell Wexler's tremendous camera work captures the connections between the Stones' hypnotic and provocative music and the drug-addled frenzy of the crowd. Directors David Maysles and Al Maysles take a hands-off approach, and the result is a disturbing look at the hellish side of the 1960s rock & roll counterculture. Gimme Shelter is one of the most gripping concert films ever made, and one of the very few to examine the dangerous interplay between performers and live audiences.

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Product Details

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[Dolby Digital Stereo]
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Special Features

Audio Commentary featuring Directors Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin and Collaborator Stanley Goldstein; ; Performances by the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden in 1969, including "Oh Carol" and "Prodigal Son," plus backstage outtakes and footage of the band mixing "Little Queenie"; ; Audio Excerpts from KSAN Radio's Altamont wrap-up, recorded December 7, 1969, with Introductions by then DJ Stefan Ponek; ; Altamont Stills Gallery, featuring the work of renowned photographers Bill Owens and Beth Sunflower; ; Original and Re-release Theatrical Trailers; ; Plus: A Booklet featuring essays by Film Critic Amy Taubin, Music Writer Stanley Booth, Mick Jagger's former Assistant Georgia Bergman, Music Writer Michael Lydon, and Film Critic Godfrey Cheshire

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Melvin Belli Actor
Jefferson Airplane Actor
Rolling Stones Actor
Ike Turner Actor
Tina Turner Actor
Sonny Barger Participant

Technical Credits
David Maysles Director
Albert Maysles Director
Charlotte Mitchell Zwerin Director
Mirra Bank Editor
Michael Becker Sound/Sound Designer
John Brumbaugh Sound/Sound Designer
Baird Bryant Cinematographer
Joanne Burke Editor
Howard Chesley Sound/Sound Designer
Joan Churchill Cinematographer
Paul Deason Sound/Sound Designer
Ron Dorfman Cinematographer
Robert Elfstrom Cinematographer
Larry Fallon Musical Arrangement
Robert Farren Editor
Adam Gifford Cinematographer
Kevin Keating Cinematographer
Stephen Lighthill Cinematographer
George Lucas Cinematographer
Kent McKinney Editor
Jim Moody Cinematographer
Walter Murch Sound/Sound Designer
Robert Primes Cinematographer
Art Rochester Sound/Sound Designer
Paul Ryan Cinematographer
Eric Saarinen Cinematographer
Susan Steinberg Editor
Nelson Stoll Sound/Sound Designer
David Thompson Sound/Sound Designer

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