Sunday Matinee: Buried Movies Continued

Cocksucker BluesIn the latest issue of prairie dog, I have a top six list of buried movies, various films that have been suppressed for one reason or another. I couldn’t fit everything into a mere six film list so here’s one more buried movie.

First a little background on today’s buried movie. The Rolling Stones are well known for their sex, drugs and rock n’ roll lifestyle. In 1969 they held a free concert in California at the Altamont Speedway. The Stones had the Hell’s Angels act as security for the concert and after several fights throughout the day one of the Hell’s Angels killed an audience member while the Stones played. The resulting documentary, which caught the murder on film, was called Gimme Shelter and released in 1970.

A couple of years later The Rolling Stones returned to tour America. They were trying to put the Altamont incident behind them and they decided to hire photographer Robert Frank to direct a new documentary called Cocksucker Blues while they toured. Frank thought the best way to make the film was to shoot it in cinéma vérité. So several cameras were left lying around and everyone was encouraged to pick a camera and shoot footage at any time. The results showcased the hedonistic drug heavy lifestyle of The Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger is shown snorting cocaine. Keith Richards is shown drunk and stumbling around and a groupie is seen shooting heroin.

The Stones upon watching the film got a court order that forbade the film from ever being shown. I guess they thought the film made them look bad and at times incriminated them. Robert Frank is allowed to screen the movie but only four times a year and in an archival setting with Frank present. This wasn’t the first film the Stones suppressed, in 1968 they suppressed the BBC concert film The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. It was eventually released in 1996. The Rolling Stones felt that their performance in it was sub par which is just fancy talk for The Who outperformed them in their own TV special so they tried to bury it.

Despite never getting released and confined to the strict court order Cocksucker Blues does seem to have made it to the internet, there seems to be a rough looking version of it on YouTube. Nothing can stay buried forever.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.