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 Post subject: 99 Gimme Shelter
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:44 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:53 pm
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Gimme Shelter

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Called “the greatest rock film ever made,” this landmark documentary follows the Rolling Stones on their notorious 1969 U.S. tour. When 300,000 members of the Love Generation collided with a few dozen Hell’s Angels at San Francisco’s Altamont Speedway, direct cinema pioneers David and Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin immortalized on film the bloody slash that transformed a decade’s dreams into disillusionment.

Special Features

-Breathtaking new high-definition transfer of the uncensored 30th Anniversary version, remastered and restored from the camera original
-Exclusive Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround sound mixes
-Never-before-seen performances of the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden in 1969, including “Little Queenie," “Oh Carol," and “Prodigal Son," plus backstage outtakes
-Audio commentary by directors Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, and collaborator Stanley Goldstein
-Excerpts from KSAN Radio’s Altamont wrap-up, recorded December 7, 1969, with new introductions by then-DJ, Stefan Ponek
-Altamont stills gallery, featuring the work of renowned photographers Bill Owens and Beth Sunflower
-Original and rerelease theatrical trailers, plus trailers for Maysles Films’ classics Grey Gardens and Salesman
-Filmographies for Maysles Films and Charlotte Zwerin
-Restoration demonstration
-English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
-Optimal image quality: RSDL dual layer edition
-PLUS: "The Rolling Stones, Altamont, and Gimme Shelter": A 44-page booklet with essays by Jagger’s former assistant Georgia Bergman, music writers Michael Lydon and Stanley Booth, ex-Oakland Hell’s Angels chapter head Sonny Barger, and film critics Amy Taubin and Godfrey Cheshire

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:12 pm 
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I'm a big Stones fan, and the mix on this DVD is SO good, ABKCO blew a huge opportunity when they re-issued "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out" on SACD. If you recall, "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out" was a live album taken from Madison Square Garden, which they filmed for this documentary. SACD is a new audio format that also allows for 5.1 mixes. Unfortunately, ABKCO never bothered to make a new 5.1 mix, like Criterion did for this DVD, so they blew it. The original stereo mix for "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out" wasn't all that great, and there were a number of overdubs and fixes so it wasn't true to life - whether that's a problem depends on whether you're a 'purist' at these sort of things.

This probably captures the Stones at their live peak, certainly one of the best rock films ever made. I know most attention is paid to Altamont where things go terribly wrong, but up until that point, the music is still amazing. This film was shot between 1969's "Let It Bleed" and 1970's "Sticky Fingers," two of the Rolling Stones' greatest albums (not to mention two of the best in rock n' roll) and right in the middle of a legendary four-album run the Stones had they began with 1968's "Beggar's Banquet" and ended with their best work, 1972's double-album "Exile On Main Street" (one of the most celebrated albums in rock, some say the greatest; it's my favorite and it's got a great Robert Frank cover design to boot). If you LOVE the Rolling Stones, this is a great DVD to get, better than anything else out there, including the "Rock 'N' Roll Circus" (where the Who outplayed the Stones).

BTW, "greatest rock film ever made"? That term has been tossed around too many times in the last 6 years, due to a number of re-issues on DVD and in the theater. That title goes to the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night," truly the "Citizen Kane" of rock (or 'jukebox') musicals, as Andrew Sarris said. Best CONCERT film ever made, "Stop Making Sense" by the Talking Heads, where the music is great and measures up with the film, itself, which perfectly complements the music.

Other mentions have been made for "The Last Waltz," but that's always gotten mixed reviews from rock critics for good reason. Lots going for it, Scorsese and his cinematographers did a great job capturing the show, but it's got problems (Robertson comes off real smug, the rest of the Band aren't comfortable on camera, probably because Robertson was really the one breaking up the group - leaving with most of the song royalties - while the rest had no idea what they were going to do next, some performances were actually subpar, etc.)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 5:17 pm 
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hearthesilence wrote:
Other mentions have been made for "The Last Waltz," but that's always gotten mixed reviews from rock critics for good reason. Lots going for it, Scorsese and his cinematographers did a great job capturing the show, but it's got problems (Robertson comes off real smug, the rest of the Band aren't comfortable on camera, probably because Robertson was really the one breaking up the group - leaving with most of the song royalties - while the rest had no idea what they were going to do next, some performances were actually subpar, etc.)


Well, I think what really makes The Last Waltz so good is all the guests that come up on stage... Muddy Waters does a blistering version of "Mannish Boy," Neil Young rocks out like a man possessed, and Van Morrison is fantastic (that voice!). Sure, Clapton's a little dull but I think that the film really shows how amazingly tight The Band were as a group of musicians. I'd definitely say it's up there in the Top 5 of great concert films.

I also thought that the live footage from the new Led Zepplin DVD set is phenomenonal and sounds great in 5.1!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 5:19 pm 
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Rolling Stones' Rock n' Roll Circus is just great for the performances of Taj Mahal, Jethro Tull and definitely The Who. I'd recommend every good music fan see this.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 5:21 pm 
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Fletch F. Fletch wrote:
Neil Young rocks out like a man possessed


By coke.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 5:23 pm 

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Gimme Shelter blew me away during the footage of the Stones in the editing room watching the Maysles/Zwerin footage from the Altamont show. Up until that point, it's the Mick Jagger Show (starring Mick Jagger!) and then, in the editing room, this giant, larger-than-life character is reduced to a bump on the highway of the human condition. The film is a great documentary because it transcends its surface subject matter. You don't have to be a Stones fan to dig it, just a human being willing to think a bit.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 6:46 pm 
I loved this film when I first saw it in 1978 but upon repeated viewings I find the post-1969 footage of the Stones viewing the film annoying. I don't mind the Olympic Studios sequence [shot in 1970] but the Chinese box effect of a film-of-a-film-of seems to get in the way of what should be an honest documentary. Obviously the directors wanted a way of highlighting the killing so the viewing scenes are a build up to the "Under My Thumb" sequence. I think just showing the footage would have been enough. If you compare this rocumentary to others of the time this one is the only one to differ in this respect. The others rely on the event itself.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 8:03 pm 
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What is honest about the Rolling Stones? And yes, I have spent a lot of money on UK mono copies of their LPs.

The killing is a by-product of the film is it not? The free show was arranged specifically for the filming and the fact that it had to go on led to them resorting to the less than ideal circumstances, correct?

As for the movie, I enjoy it, but even as a fan of the Stones I prefer Criterion's other Maysles releases.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 2:52 pm 

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ben d banana wrote:
The killing is a by-product of the film is it not? The free show was arranged specifically for the filming and the fact that it had to go on led to them resorting to the less than ideal circumstances, correct?
That's the Kael arguement, and she makes it well. But I still don't feel like the Stones, their management, or the filmmakers should be held responsible. They didn't put the weapons in anyones hands


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 3:07 pm 
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I certainly agree with you, but the show could've been better handled, delayed or cancelled instead of pushed forward. Not like I'm complaining about the end of the summer of love or anything...


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 3:50 pm 
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I thought the free show was because they wanted a west-coast version of Woodstock. Even though the problems concerning the concert, I find this film to be a valuable counterpoint to the sunshiney happiness of Woodstock and the Peace/Love Movement. Very Ying/Yang when taken together.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:20 pm 

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my understanding as well, oldsheperd. I think part of the greatness of the film is that the Stones' concert did cause this violence - it's a look at the end of an era, and the unbridled power of fame.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:29 pm 
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Cinematically speaking, the Peace Movement can be seen in three chapters. Monterey Pop, Woodstock, Gimme Shelter


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 8:34 pm 

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oldsheperd wrote:
I thought the free show was because they wanted a west-coast version of Woodstock.
They wanted a west coast version of Woodstock that they could exploit by filming it and make a fortune from releasing the film. The concert (while attended by 200,000 people) was really put on expressly to make the movie. Read Pauline Kael's review.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 8:49 pm 

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I don't think Kael's review should be taken as historical truth. The woman essentially slandered the Maysles with that review. Her evidence is suspect at best.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:00 pm 
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My first Criterion...

The Rolling Stones are my favorite group... needless to say that is one of my beloved possessions...

Axel.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:06 pm 
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I'd like to put a word in for the absolutely gorgeous, rich transfer from 16mm. There are some very handsome 16mm titles in the collection (e.g. The Harder They Come and Monterey Pop), but this one really took my breath away after years of seeing grungy, faded blow ups.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 1:09 am 

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just watched this for the first time tonight and i must say that i was blown away. the sheer horror and build up of the whole thing is tremendous. i knew going in what had happened at Altamont but the Maysles & Zwerin capture it so well, it's absolutely stunning. nothing could've prepare me for the claustrophobic tension that slowly builds to the Altamont show. and i, for one, loved the editing room footage. the crestfallen mood is stunning and palpable, and builds up tension throughout the film, reminding us of the horrible show to come.

this one will definitely make its way into my collection sometime soon.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 2:57 am 
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javelin wrote:
I don't think Kael's review should be taken as historical truth. The woman essentially slandered the Maysles with that review. Her evidence is suspect at best.


In an interview I conducted with Albert Maysles, he said of Kael & her infamous New Yorker piece: "She’s full of baloney. We wrote a long answer to it, and of course they wouldn’t publish it. Her thesis was that everything was made for the film, and that’s totally, totally, totally fraudulent. Absolutely nothing true in it. For example: in order to make a point, she had to refer to Salesman and said that Paul Brennan wasn’t really a Bible salesman, we got him to play the part. " He's apparently still pretty upset about it, even now.


Last edited by Faux Hulot on Tue Mar 29, 2005 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 3:02 am 
wax on; wax off
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If this is true then I fully understand the ire that she raises with some of the posters here, especially on Donald Brown's anti-Kael thread. That isn't sloppy film criticism...but outright contempt for truth and professionalism. And what a bizarre target to go after: a few of the finest documentary film makers we have/had.

So maybe she really was...ahem...and idiot.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 1:17 am 
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actually skuhn, it's not true...

javelin wrote:
I don't think Kael's review should be taken as historical truth. The woman essentially slandered the Maysles with that review. Her evidence is suspect at best.


In an interview I conducted with Albert Maysles, he said of Kael & her infamous New Yorker piece: "She’s full of baloney. We wrote a long answer to it, and of course they wouldn’t publish it. Her thesis was that everything was made for the film, and that’s totally, totally, totally fraudulent. Absolutely nothing true in it. For example: in order to make a point, she had to refer to Salesman and said that Paul Brennan wasn’t really a Bible salesman, we got him to play the part. " He's apparently still pretty upset about it, even now.

Not to beat a dead horse, but it's clear from simply reading kael's review that one, maysles misstates her thesis and two kael never asserts that brennan wasn't really a bible salesman.

She uses Gimme Shelter as a way to question the method of direct cinema or cinema verite. She raises the point that the film presents the concert at altamont as being free, even though the maysles were hired to film it and the stones arranged to receive profits from the film... in a sense payment for the concert. I don't think anyone on the forum has challenged this specific point. She goes onto argue that the film is made in such a way as to remove both the maysles and the rolling stones from any responsibility for the events at altamont and that most of the blame is dumped on the hell's angels another point I think no one has questioned.

Now, I'm not the world's biggest pauline kael fan and really I'm not a maysles or rolling stones fan either. It seems to me that if you like the maysles or the stones, you'll probably like this documentary, but that said, I think some of the objections kael raises in her review are interesting. Especially her analysis, however potentially flawed in the stones responsibility for the events at altamont. I know that Kael is far from being flawless or above scrutiny, but even Jonathan Rosenbaum (a critic I'm sure some of you respect) mentions in his book Placing Movies that at least one scene in this movie... Jagger looking at the Altamont footage on a flatbed is fake. His source is the cameraman who shot the scene. If Kael is so obviously not beyond scrutiny on this forum, I don't understand why the maysles can't be held to the same standard, just because they made a film people like.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 9:17 am 
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who is bobby dylan wrote:
She uses Gimme Shelter as a way to question the method of direct cinema or cinema verite. She raises the point that the film presents the concert at altamont as being free, even though the maysles were hired to film it and the stones arranged to receive profits from the film... in a sense payment for the concert. I don't think anyone on the forum has challenged this specific point. She goes onto argue that the film is made in such a way as to remove both the maysles and the rolling stones from any responsibility for the events at altamont and that most of the blame is dumped on the hell's angels another point I think no one has questioned.



Are you suggesting, then, that the concert was made for the Maysles to shoot it?????, Why should the Maysles' feel or be responsible for the killing of Meredith?. That concert was free, the arrangement between the Maysles and the Stones are outside from it.

I've always felt that the whole responsibility is the Stones'. They had committed a foul move by hiring the Hell's Angel's and fuel them with Beers just to not pay them money, with that equation only one can expect the worst.

Was the point of the documentary to point out the Stones' as guilty? It never redeem the Stones or accuse them, since when a documentary should take sides?!?!?

I'm not into bashing Kael as well, but if she had her theory on how a documentary should be, logically there would be people that won't agree with her.

Axel.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 2:24 pm 
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I'm only suggesting that Kael argues in her review that the concert was not 'free' and that the Stones agreed to the 'free' concert, because it would be shot by the Maysles and they would have a financial interest in the film. I don't know whether this is true or not, but it's what Kael argues in her review. She uses this as a jumping off point to question the idea of 'direct cinema'.

Again, I'm only trying to present Kael's arguments. I don't think it's suggested that the Maysles are in anyway legally responsible. But, I think the idea is that direct cinema is supposed to capture an event without changing it. Because (if you believe Kael's argument) there would be no concert without the movie, the movie becomes an excuse for the concert, which sets into motion events that lead to someone's death - so the Maysles are in a way responsible. She also goes onto implicate the Stones.

I don't think the point of the film is to position the Stones as guilty, but to position the blame on the Hell's Angels.

Since when should a documentary take sides?

Can I assume you aren't being serious with this point? I think the implicit claim in a documentary is truth, not impartiality.

My only problem, is that instead of attacking Kael's arguments or supplying other information, people simply attacked Kael.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 6:32 pm 
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I'm a huge Neil Young fan and his exploits leading up him appearing at the concert are quite bizarre:

Neil had been up with partying with Crazy Horse for 48 hours straight before doing coke and whatnot. He apparently halluninated the ghost of Judy Garland. He was well and truly fucked up by the time he got to the Winterland. You can see it: he moses onto the stage, but his slurred acknowledgement to the players is genuine and shows a side to Shakey that I really like. The performance of 'Helpless' is amazing, I feel. Really beautiful.

As for the nugget if coke that up his nose, it was BAD! Scorsese and Robertson wanted to keep it in, "It's rock and roll!" screamed Scorsese to Young's manager, Elliot Roberts. In the end, it was rotoscoped out at a cost of thousands of dollars. "The most expensive cocaine I ever bought," joked Robbie Robertson!

The Last Waltz is okay, but it is full of its own importance. The interviews about life "on the road" are boring. Robertson doesn't come across as genuine (he does today) and the other members look bored and depressed.

Give me American Boy - also released in 1978 - over this any day! Hilarious and scary stuff. Neil Young's "Time Fades Away" fits the movie very well. "That's no asshole - that's your mother!" :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:07 am 
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Verisimilitude aside, I finally got to see this tonight and like a previous poster, my reaction can only be described as "blown away." what an amazing piece of filmmaking. the shot of the guy losing his mind behind Jagger as he sings is nothing short of mesmerizing...as are the captures of many faces in the crowd that are obviously disturbed by what is happening around them but are still trying to play it cool and enjoy the show. It truly is a phenomenal work that perfectly encapsulates the end of an era. I usually show clips of the Democratic convention in my survey courses to make this point - but am going to give a lot of thought to simply showing the last twenty minutes of Gimme Shelter next time out.

As for Kael, isn't all this fairly well addressed in the booklet? seems like it was to me, and it would seem to me that she might have been the first to evince Godwin's Law.....whatever you make of the film, putting it in the same breath as Triumph of the Will is laughable. She obviously had a large axe to grind.


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