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Hell's Angels, David Maysles and the leather jacket


Filming the reactions to the Altamont murder footage
Albert Maysles Film-maker
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When we, when we finished that day of filming at Altamont- and some months later as we were editing the film, we- well- first of all- well, several- a week or so after we made the film we, we thought it would be interesting to show the footage which the Stones had asked to see anyway- footage including the footage of the killing, show it to them with their permission to film them as they watched it. So we had their reaction to the event and could include that in the film- a very important thing. And then- and then we thought, still not knowing exactly how the film would be edited, it might be interesting to go back to Los Angeles having got permission from the police and the Hell's Angels on separate occasions at the police station and at the Hell's Angels' home to film each group watching the footage of the killing. And, and so both the police and the Hell's Angels agreed to that. So we came out and we filmed the Hell's Angels- we filmed the police. That was very interesting- their, their reaction to the material. What was their reaction? It's hard for me to remember right now but it was typical of what a police person with that kind of mentality- the, the kind of responses that we got. And then when we get- got to film the Hell's Angels we set up the projector and as about- we were about to, to film them they said no, we don't want it to film but we're going to see the stuff. So we had to show it to them. And we couldn't get that part of it. So that- as it turned out we didn't need that footage anyway but- What was their reaction? Their reaction was to demand that- a million dollars from us. They considered themselves life actors, as they, as they described it. And- but as is the custom with documentary filmmakers we don't reward the people that we film because, because it's filming their life rather than performing for us. There are occasions when one strays from that one way or another but we certainly didn't have the million dollars nor do we still have that from the film.

Albert Maysles (1926-2015) known for his important documentaries on Muhammad Ali, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, pioneered the documentary style known as Direct Cinema. He helped create techniques still widely used in modern documentary production, as well as many of the techniques used in reality TV.

Listeners: Sara Maysles Tamara Tracz Rebekah Maysles

Sara Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is currently doing her BA in East Asian Studies at Columbia University, and working as an Archivist of the photographs and photographic material at Maysles Films Inc., Albert‚s film production company. She spent ten months out of two years working with Tibetan refugees at a center in Nepal, and continues to travel back and forth between America and Asia.

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

Rebekah Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is an artist living between New York and Philadelphia. She has her own line of clothing, Blackberryrose, and co-runs the store Sodafine in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York, a vintage and handmade store that sells clothing, books and other products made by artists.

Tags: Altamont, Rolling Stones, Los Angeles, Hell's Angels

Duration: 3 minutes, 6 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008