- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 31, 2002

Although the 1970s are remembered for disco music and bell-bottomed pants, there was more to the era than John Travolta strutting to the song "Stayin' Alive" in "Saturday Night Fever."
This weekend, the American Movie Classics (AMC) Channel pays tribute to music from the films of the 1970s with its 10th annual Film Preservation Festival: "Rock 'n' Roll in the Movies." The station is airing films from the decade, as well as a documentary chronicling the era, entitled, "Hollywood Rocks the Movies: The Seventies."
Kevin Burns, the project's executive producer, says the program shows the interdependency between film and music that became a phenomenon in that time period.
Clips, trailers, photographs, interviews with musicians and Hollywood insiders complement the music of the performers, including Donna Summer (who belted out "Last Dance" in "Thank God It's Friday"), Bob Marley, the Bee Gees and the Sex Pistols. It also documents the making of such classics as "Saturday Night Fever," "Shaft," "Godspell," "Grease," "The Last Waltz" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." The two-hour program is narrated by singer David Bowie.
"Rock 'n' roll sought Hollywood as a means of mass marketing," Mr. Burns says. "When people saw that a movie would help sell a soundtrack and a soundtrack could help sell a movie, it culminated in a marriage between the two."
The music in "Gimme Shelter," was an integral part of the film, says Albert Maysles, the festival's director. The footage captured the Rolling Stones' free concert at San Francisco's Altamont Speedway on Dec. 6, 1969, in which a fan was stabbed to death. Musical highlights include "Satisfaction," "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Under My Thumb." Other artists, including Ike and Tina Turner and Jefferson Airplane, also performed at the now-infamous event.
"I don't think the music inspired the violence," Mr. Maysles says. "[But] it was a very close accompaniment to what was going on."
"Gimme Shelter" will be televised for the first time in a restored version, which has been digitally remastered and color corrected for the festival with Dolby Digital sound.
D.A. Pennebaker, director of "Ziggy Stardust and the Spider From Mars," a documentary of a 1973 David Bowie concert, says making the movie was a way to record history. The film also has been restored and will be aired for the first time in its new format.
"We were watching a turn in the river," Mr. Pennebaker says. "We knew we better pay attention and see why and where it's coming [from] and where it's going. We weren't going to have musicologists explain it to us. We had to spend time with [musicians] and film them."
David Sehring, senior vice president of acquisitions and programming at the American Movie Classics Channel, says the film preservation festival, which will air 20 movies in their entirety, will inform viewers of the nation's film heritage. The channel, he noted, raised more than $2 million to help restore and preserve the films.
"Our popular culture is reflected in movies," Mr. Sehring says. "Whether it's disco or the Rolling Stones at Altamont, it's important to preserve them."

WHAT: 10th Annual Film Preservation Festival: "Rock 'n' Roll in the Movies."
WHEN: Through tomorrow, Consult TV guide for specific times.
WHERE: American Movie Classics (AMC) Channel

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