June 12, 2004

Gimme Shelter.

Tonight, we watched Gimme Shelter, a movie I saw when it came out in 1970, when I didn't know anything about the Maysles Brothers but loved the Rolling Stones. Today, it was more the Maysles Brothers than the Rolling Stones that led me to choose this film. I love Grey Gardens, and all of us who were making the selection love Salesman.

You might have heard the NPR piece on the Criterion Collection this morning. If not, listen to it here. Gimme Shelter is a nice glossy Criterion DVD. The extra scenes made me a little mad at the movie on behalf of the great Tina Turner, who toured with the Stones during the period of the filming and who is featured in the film doing one song, with extremely lascivious mannerisms, followed by a short clip of Mick Jagger watching her on film, then saying something like "It's nice to have a chick sometime." One of the omitted scenes, however, is a long sequence of Mick sitting with Tina (and Ike) looking at a magazine, hanging out, having a warm relationship. Mick plays guitar for a long time, playing quite well, in the style of Robert Johnson, and seeming almost puppylike in his desire for the approval of Ike and Tina. (Too bad they didn't get Ike Turner to do a commentary track on that scene. I would like to know what was going through his head at the time.)

Actually, I'm mad on behalf of Mick too, then--as if he needs my support!--because the edited film made him seem piggish toward Tina Turner, when, judging from the unused scene, he was very sweet with her. In fact, the whole film was edited to feature the Altamont concert, rather than the whole tour, and to make it seem that the Stones' music and the inherent destructiveness of the hippie movement were responsible for the murder and violence that occurred that night, because, of course, dramatically that makes a much better story than the truth, which seems to be that the Rolling Stones were disserved by the lawyers and others who handled the crowd control and security arrangements.

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