1970, R, 91 min. Directed by David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin. Starring the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Ike & Tina Turner Revue, Marvin Belli.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Thu., Sept. 7, 2000
This 30th-anniversary re-release of one of the greatest rock & roll documentaries of all time restores a couple of minutes that were snipped in the original in order to earn the film a PG rating. Although the restorations are relatively mild (things like a shot of a dancing, bare-breasted woman), this movie deserves to be shown in this uncensored version and blown up to 35mm from the original 16mm color reversal negatives. Quite by accident, the film documents the famous Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway, which ended in a concertgoer being stabbed to death while the Hell’s Angels security force attempted to keep the peace. Through time, the film has become a tangible document that seems to capture the moment when the peace-and-love generation lost its naivete and innocence. The Stones perform classics from the time such as “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” and “Wild Horses.” Performance snatches by the Jefferson Airplane, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and the Ike & Tina Turner Revue are also included. Interspersed with the stage show, which grows increasingly edgy as the crowd sentiments steadily boil, are sequences of the Stones in the editing studio looking at the Maysles footage while pondering aloud where it all went wrong. The Maysles, some of whose landmark documentaries include Salesman and Grey Gardens, once again prove their impeccable sense of observation.