Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gimme Shelter (1970)

Place posts here. Gimme Shelter is a documentary by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin.

Group 1: By Tuesday morning, post a 3-400 word response on Berkeley in the Sixties, directed by Mark Kitchell.

Group 2: By Thursday at noon, post a 200 wordish response to something or things discussed by Group 1.


  1. From Andrew H:

    Gimme Shelter
    Gimme Shelter is a documentary based on the Rolling Stones trying to find out who killed someone at their show. This documentary was interesting to me because the show that they had was supposed to be a Woodstock on the west coast and it was very different. With Woodstock, people weren’t supposed to get in for free, but the cover charge ended up being zero when people started jumping the fence. Even though people were breaking into Woodstock, there was no violence and the promoters just let it all happen. The thing with the rolling stones show was that it was already free, and people were very violent throughout the show. I found the whole feel of their show interesting as well and in a way showed the end of the peace movement. This show was full of a lot of the same kind of people who were at Woodstock but they continually clashed with the hells angels who were hired on to run security for the show. It was also interesting the way the stones seemed to handle what was going on around them during the show. Unlike most of the bands at Woodstock who were there to get a message out and be part of something bigger than themselves, the stones seemed to be in it more to promote their “brand” and ultimately sell more records in the long run. There is even a point in the movie where the band is holding a press conference and Mick Jagger says straight up that they as a band are not financially happy. The whole reason for them even doing a free show was more due to the fact that fans were upset over the cost of their shows rather than wanting to do something for them in general. Because of this show rushed into happening because of pressure felt to save face, things were not looked at well before it happened and the lack of planning and poor decision making ultimately led to the death of a concert patron.

  2. From Geri B:

    "Gimme Shelter" is a documentary released in the year of 1970. This documentary was based on the Rolling Stones, but had a twist as well. The main focus of the film was to follow and figure out who murdered an audience member while they were performing at the Altamont Speedway. The thing I liked the most was how they tied the murder into the beginning of the film and let the audience go "back" in time in order to try and solve the mystery. Mick Jagger, the fearless leader of the group, seemed as if he was most concerned over the young African American's death. Throughout the film, I assumed that the gentlemen got killed by another member of the audience. I say this because their entire concert involved violence. I realize that they were trying to follow Woodstock as far as a free concert with a mass amount of people, but their security cautions were much different. As a matter of fact, one of the security guards also known as the, "Hells Angels" turned out to be the one who committed the crime. Honestly, I was shocked when they revealed that information. Hate to tie this in to fiction, but this sort of reminding me of a C.S.I episode, yet it was reality. I relate it to that show because it seems as if the criminal is always the person you least expect. Overall, I enjoyed watching the Rolling Stones perform and thought this was a pretty good film.

  3. From Austin M:

    Gimme Shelter is a documentary unlike any we have so far watched. Not only is a similar to a “who done it” but it shows a movement that failed. All of our other documentaries are about successes, Woodstock was held successfully with no violence, the civil rights movement was violent and lasted a long time but was eventually successful, even the Weathermen were successful to an extent. However the event focused on in Gimme Shelter was a complete and utter disaster, the concert tried to recreate Woodstock but a West Coast version of it. The planning was horrible, there was no set up time until literally the day of the event; because of this the crowd was able to walk around the back stage and crowded the bands. No security guard was hired so the event planners asked the Hell’s Angels to help them and work on crowd control; this is mainly what caused the violent incident that resulted in one death. Overall the West Coast version of Woodstock was a failure because it was not planned well, Woodstock was planned six months in advance, the Rolling Stone’s concert site was not known until the day before it happened.
    What is also interesting about this film is we are able to see the evolution of the musician. The documentary Don’t Look Back focused on the tour of Bob Dylan in the summer of 1965, he was treated as a star, women would scream his name outside of buildings,however he for the most part ignored them and focused more on his music and his friends. Then in 1969 at Woodstock the musicians were treated as idols, the leaders of the hippie movement and fans cheered for encores of their favorite musicians. The Rolling Stone on the other hand completely defined what it means to be a “rock star”. In 1970 the documentary Gimme Shelter captured the Rolling Stones as being drug users, living for the fame and sex life that comes with stardom, and basically cocky because of their success. They admired by ladies everywhere they went, at their concert the Hells Angels had to push several ladies off stage when they tried to get on stage to be closer to Mick Jagger. All in all Gimme Shelter is a film that focuses on the failure of another Woodstock type event and the review by Mick Jagger to discover the killer.

  4. Music was obviously a major player on the road to revolution; we’ve seen it in Woodstock with the masses of people coming together and in Don’t Look Back with Bob Dylan’s meaningful deep lyrics. Both of these films seemed to have some sort of calming feel to them like it was the right things happening at the right times. With the film Gemmie Shelter it seemed chaotic even from the first few scenes of the film. It’s inevitable that if you throw a free concert for the rolling stones, where ever you set the venue at is going to be as packed as physically possible during the show, so you are going to need some sort of a security system. Choosing the hellish group of the hells angels to run their security was in my opinion where the people running the show screwed up. During the Stones performance the angels occupied both sides of the stage. After the music started each song had to be cut short due to the hells angels “security,” where they were terrorizing the front few rows of spectators and by the third song the angels had occupied over 50% of the stage. The chaos was only really noticed when the video from the show was slowed down. Seeing that man get stabbed was obviously an emotionally scarring moment for Mick Jaggier, you could just tell by his facial expressions while watching it. This concert cont just be looked at as a tragedy, it was and has to be viewed as a learning experience and an example on how not to run a prime time concert.

  5. From Amanda D:

    Amanda DeRossett (Group 2):

    In film, we watched the 1970 film documentary, “Gimme Shelter”, directed by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin. The film focused on The Rolling Stones tour throughout the United States in 1969 and ended with the well known horrific event at the Altamont Speedway Free Festival. I first watched this film when I was 14, not only because I was a Stones fan, but because I wanted to see what all the talk was about with the Hells Angels. Watching it now, I noticed a lot more than I did when I was younger. Throughout the whole Altamont concert scenes, I couldn’t understand why Mick Jagger hired the Hells Angels to be security. The Hells Angels weren’t what Altamont was supposed to be about. They didn’t bring peace or love, they brought violence and hate. I think the free festival was set up very poorly, from the stage to the security. Not only did an Hells Angel stab and kill a man, they assaulted several fans and even one of the band members from Jefferson Airplane. As much respect as I have for Mick Jagger’s music, I lost a lot of respect for him the second time watching this film. His performances were very mediocre, he was way too into himself than focusing on the audience in a few scenes. As entertaining as the film was, mainly because of the terrible things happening in the audience, the only part of the film I enjoyed of The Rolling Stones was when they were all in the studio listening to “Wild Horses”. The film went from excited and happy to a depressing ending.

  6. From Jessica W:

    I imagine that when one sets out with the task of producing a film, they have to take into account how they will incorporate their own spin on said film. The film recently viewed in class, Give Me Shelter, not only took its viewers for a spin, but was able to calmly entertain them at the same time. Thus far along in the semester I have not caught myself feeling anxiety due to a clip of a film from 40 years prior, but surprizingly enough, in this film I did. I feel that the documentarian behind this film, whether it was conciously or subconciously, showed the obvious similarities and differences between Altmont to Woodstock in a vast number of ways; and also did a fabulous job at provoking my emotions in regards to a random loss of a human life, all in the name of Rock and Roll.
    The major theme that kept reoccuring to me while I was watching the film throughout, is the American Society's selfishness. This whole semester we've learned about turmoils, injustices, and tragedies that happened throughout the 1960's, and stretched around the globe. Yet, here are these hundreds of thousands of people who are, in my opinon, much too concerned with getting to see Mick Jagger struggle to actual carry out a tune, in spite of what issues are encircling around them. I am in no way putting down music or saying that as a race, we are not entitled to having a little fun; what astonishes me though is that after decades of making the same mistakes, American's still carry out some of the same ignorances, and still worship the same material posessions and those rock/movie stars who wear them. One thing I do commend the documentarian on doing is showing the struggles that the Rolling Stones had to deal with as a direct result of their fame and success. He did this is many scenes, using too many techniques to formulate into words in one blog. In spite of my mini-rant, I did overall enjoy the film. If nothing else, I hope that people in class walked away from it carrying the thought that all the fame, bottles of booze, and snakeskin boots in the world can not bring true happiness. Mick said it himself in an interview shown, he "cant get no, satisfaction." (: the end.

  7. From Jullien:

    It was a very interesting document as it reminds me how real and awful that Vietnam War was … It was all about political agenda and a war that was truly a cold war between the U.S and Russia and China. Chinese and Russians supported the communist china while Western Europe and the United States were trying to eradicate communism. It was a war of ideology and a war that had financial interest about the west looking at possible Economic development that could have lead out of this war. It was a geopolitical war as well as western country wanted a stronger grip on Asia for the future. That is on the political spectrum.
    The movie really shocks me when I saw the carpet bombing and HOW MANY bombs were drop from these planes. I mean to visualize it like that really frightens me and remind me how EUGLY war is.
    I think that it was a GENOCIDE and that it is hypocritical to point fingers about genocide while Vietnam War AND the 2 atomic bomb drop on japan were both a form of GENOCIDE. The difference is that when it’s a nation powerful such as the United States of America or a powerful western European nation then we don’t call it a genocide but instead a mass casualty .
    It was outrageous to see all these woman and children’s body burned on the floor in these Vietnam villages. There were rape and tortures and sickening things that we cannot even conceive in our way of thinking since we have never seen that big of evil act in our every day “Joe blow” life here.
    It was awesome how all the GI organized themselves to try to influence in stopping that war.
    These era really show that we have people in this country ready to fight for what’s right even if it means ruining their own life in the process, like that guy that was at Harvard doing very well then drop out then join the GI antiwar movement and then was blacklisted . Sacrifice in civil rights of many courageous Americans will be worth it in the long run.

  8. ooops wrong post !!!!!!!!! sorry ........

  9. Many people have been disapointed by this documentary but I thought it was a good, real and down to earth documentary . it does seem like they have cut anything of the movie since the good and bad was in it!! I think the Rolling Stone are one of the most world wide talented band ever and i have been listening to them since I was a little kid !! I was a little disapointed to see that Mick Jagger was a little too much into himself, right at at moment when that particular FAN, at the front row, right in front of the stage, was looking at him and shaking his head in a way that shows the angels may be over the top in how they were brutally handling security . Mick Jagger looked at him for a second then act like nothing was going on the next and totally ignored him in a very weird way... I was very weird out that angels were handling security since they are a radical group in my opinion that are violent and that represent anything but modern civilization . Lets remember that they are running the drug trade and some prostitution rings and extortion all over the country and that is a "fact" and thats why the FBI has crack down on them very hard in the past!! I thought that some fan were cool and good spirited but some were way exagerating their attitudes and drugs may be the reason why...especially during this era of "Sex,drug and rock n roll"...I thought that the band did not well organized their Tour and it looks like they were more about themselves than the fan which is who make them who they are : "famous"! The guy that had a gun with a green jacket seemed a little crazy from the beginnning as I spot it him many time throughout the video ...maybe he went over the top and sadly, maybe the angels are prejudice and were bothered by a blackman being there since I dont recall seeing many black man beside a few if that in that big mass of crowd...maybe they were reaction driven from being "high" on drug but both the gun and the stabbing by the angel security personel was something VERY NEGATIVE for a gathering thats suppose to bound everybody together as a unity and not the opposit . Iam not gone let that video affect me in how much I enjoy their music and the art of it .