Interview Mick Jagger

Though Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious was produced by David O. Selznick’s Vanguard Films, Selznick himself had little to do with the production, which undoubtedly pleased the highly independent Hitchcock. Ingrid Bergman plays Alicia Huberman, who goes to hell in a handbasket after her father, an accused WWII traitor, commits suicide. American secret agent Devlin (Cary Grant) is ordered to enlist the libidinous Alicia’s aid in trapping Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains), the head of a Brazilian neo-Nazi group. Openly contemptuous of Alicia despite her loyalty to the American cause, Devlin calmly instructs her to woo and wed Sebastian, so that that good guys will have an inside woman to monitor the Nazi chieftain’s activities. It is only after Alicia and Sebastian are married that Devlin admits to himself that he’s fallen in love with her. The MacGuffin in this case is a cache of uranium ore, hidden somewhere on Sebastian’s estate. Upon discovering that his wife is a spy, Sebastian balks at eliminating her until ordered to do so by his virago of a mother (Madame Konstantin). Tension mounts to a fever pitch as Devlin, a day late and several dollars short, strives to rescue Alicia from Sebastian’s homicidal designs. Of the several standout sequences, the film’s highlight is an extended love scene between Alicia and Devlin, which manages to ignite the screen while still remaining scrupulously within the edicts of the Production Code. In later years, Hitchcock never tired of relating the story of how he and screenwriter Ben Hecht (who was nominated for an Oscar) fell under the scrutiny of the FBI after electing to use uranium as a plot device — this before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A huge moneymaker for everyone concerned, Notorious remains one of Hitchcock’s best espionage melodramas. In 1992, Notorious was remade for cable television; it goes without saying that the original is vastly superior.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

The Rolling Stones are no strangers to celluloid. They’ve employed such esteemed directors as Hal Ashby and Jean-Luc Godard to capture their raucous studio and onstage exploits on film. They even starred in the seldom seen concert flick ‘Charlie Is My Darling’, documenting their ’66 tour of Ireland.

Likewise Martin Scorsese has always had an interest in music in the movies. He edited ‘Woodstock’, directed landmark concert film ‘The Last Waltz’, and has repeatedly used Stones classics in some of his best works ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘The Departed’.

So it came as no surprise when Scorsese and the Stones announced their plans to collaborate on a new project.  Titled ‘Shine a Light’, the film was shot in 2006 over two nights at the Beacon Theatre in New York. ‘Shine A Light’ triumphs as a film, showing how old age has neither tempered the band’s volatile persona nor their approach to live music.

Here, Jagger reflects on a career stretching over 40 years in music and on the making of  ‘Shine A Light’.

Q:The music you used in ‘Shine A Light’ at the concerts might not be what everyone expects. Where you conscious that you were picking songs for the documentary?

A: Well, you pick what you think is best for the night. I don’t like think “God, this is a metaphor for something or other”. You may pick what’s best when you have a sore throat! (laughs)

Q: So how much fun are you guys having doing what you do, all these years later?
A: We have fun, but it’s also a great challenge for all of us. You know, to come up with the goods for that night, and afterwards. And you have to know the room, and feel the temperature of the audience. So career-wise you always see it as great fun. But there are also all these challenges to do it differently from what you’ve already done.
Q:There is quite a bit of other vintage footage from years ago in ‘Shine A Light’. How did you feel about seeing yourself from so long ago, is it like another lifetime?

A: Well, there were some moments when I felt the archival footage was going on too long. You know, I felt like we were going off into another movie. And we were forgetting that we were in a concert. Though it was kind of riveting, sometimes. But then you just want to come back to the concert.

Q:What do you think makes this movie work?

A: The audience was a good audience, because they really got into the spirit of making this movie. But shooting this film was nerve wracking. Though it was also fantastically enjoyable.

Q:Where you still get all that energy of yours from, is a mystery to the rest of us. So what’s your secret?
A: Oh God. Let’s forget about that question! No, no gym, no vitamins. You know, just do it, just get out there. But the things is, you get very pressurized in these situations. And the thing with shooting these movies, is you just have to come up to the plate. But I felt really good about that particular night. It was a turn on. So you just have to go and do it. 
Q: Well, what does Marty bring to the table over other directors?
A:He’s the best one around! You know, he just got fantastic camera lighting, and everyone working on it. And then he was very painstaking with the editing, and the movie that you see. It’s not all in the shooting; it’s obviously in the editing too.

Q:So which movie of Marty’s is your favorite?
A: Kundun is one of my favorites. Ha! That’s not a joke! He did do that one, didn’t he…! Nah, I like all of them. It’s hard to chose your favorite. But I love all of Marty’s movies. And I can’t wait for the next one.

Q:The numbers with the special guests, including Buddy Guy, that was fantastic. And you guys go back a long way. Can you tell us a little about that?
A: Well, Buddy Guy, in fact we’ve done quite a few shows with Buddy in the past. I think we’ve known him for quite a long time. He’s like one of those continually wonderful blues performers that you admire. And I think what Marty captured, the duet thing that we did with him, was really one of the high points of the movie, for me.  I actually think all our different guests  added to the movie. So yeah, I think all the duets worked. Because those duets don’t always work! But those ones really came off, and I thought people really liked them.

Q:In one vintage clip, you say that you’ll still perform when you’re sixty. Well, will you still perform when you’re seventy?

A: I dunno. That’s not so far away!

Shine A Light is released on DVD in Ireland on October 31st 2008.