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Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back [Blu-ray + DVD]

 PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 37.99
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Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back [Blu-ray + DVD] + Bob Dylan - No Direction Home (2DVD)
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Product Description

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Both a classic documentary and a vital pop-cultural artifact, D.A. Pennebaker's portrait of Bob Dylan captures the seminal singer-songwriter on the cusp of his transformation from folk prophet to rock trendsetter. Shot during Dylan's 1965 British concert tour, Don't Look Back employs an edgy vérité style that was, and is, a snug fit with the artist's own consciously rough-hewn persona. Its handheld black-and-white images and often-gritty London backdrops suggest cinematic extensions of the archetypal monochrome portraits that graced Dylan's career-making early-'60s album jackets.

Pennebaker's access to the legendarily private troubadour enables us to witness Dylan's shifting moods as he performs, relaxes with his entourage (including then lover Joan Baez, road manager Bob Neuwirth, and poker-faced manager Albert Grossman), and jousts with other musicians (notably Animals alumnus Alan Price and Scottish folksinger Donovan), fans, and press. It's a measurement of the filmmaker's acuity that the conversations are often as gripping as Dylan's solo performances. Grossman's machinations with British promoters, Baez's hip serenity, a grizzled British journalist's surrender to the fact of Dylan's artistry, and the artist's own taunting dismissal of a clueless sycophant are all absorbing.

With the exception of the studio recording of "Subterranean Homesick Blues," the live performances (including five newly restored, complete audio tracks excised from the original film but included on the DVD version) are constrained by crude audio gear. Their urgency, however, is timeless, as is Pennebaker's film, a legitimate cornerstone for any serious rock video collection. --Sam Sutherland

Product Description

When acclaimed documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker (Monterey Pop, The War Room) filmed Bob Dylan during a three-week concert tour of England in the Spring of 1965, he had no idea he was about to create one of the most intimate glimpses of the rock legend ever put on film. Wanting to make more than just a concert film, Pennebaker decided to seek out both the public and private Bob Dylan. With unobtrusive equipment and rare access to the elusive performer, he achieved a fly-on-the-wall glimpse of one of the most influential musicians of all time and redefined filmmaking along the way.

Released on Blu-ray for the first time, this definitive set includes the classic film in high-definition, the 65 Revisited bonus disc which includes an hour-long behind-the-scenes look at Dylan and a new, never-before-seen interview of director D.A. Pennebaker by renowned rock critic Greil Marcus and the director. More than just a concert film, DONT LOOK BACK is a window into the spirit of the 60s, and one of the poet-musicians whose words and songs defined it.

Bonus Features: 65 Revisited Bonus Disc; Greil Marcus Interview with D.A. Pennebaker; Five Additional Uncut Audio Tracks; Commentary by D.A. Pennebaker and tour road manager Bob Neuwirth; Alternate Version of the Subterranean Homesick Blues Cue Card Sequence; Original Theatrical Trailer

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
There's no doubt this film was an influential piece of cinema verite for subsequent rockumentaries. With little ado, it follows Bob Dylan and his small entourage (including Joan Baez) around England on an acoustic concert tour in the spring of 1965, in delicious black-and-white (mostly with hand-held cameras.) Much of the time we are in cars and hotel rooms, with occasional footage of Bob onstage performing alone with his guitar and harmonica. On a certain level we get a gritty version of the carefree fun of the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" - Bob and friends mostly hang around, seemingly without a care in the world, not appreciating how fleeting is this era of anyone's youth. At the same time, Dylan spends much of his time in pointless debates with journalists and others who are hanging around, keeping up a self-centered patter that I trust would embarrass an older man looking back on his cocky youth. It's argument for the sake of argument. His insouciant bravado has always been maddening; Bob shows little of his true self to the public in interviews and encounters, but then...he goes onstage, and those songs speak directly to our hearts, now as then. It's a weird contrast between the backstage kiss-off artist and the onstage genius. However, snatches of the real Dylan do slip through in this footage too. He seems wary and insecure around peers such as Donovan. Before going onstage at the Royal Albert Hall, the man who has just spent a long time telling a reporter that Time magazine is meaningless stops to carefully check himself in the mirror before going on. After the same concert, he seems genuinely upbeat and glad about the performance. In these and a few other glimpses, we see chinks in the armor of the self-conscious rebel, and behold, there is a human being beneath. No wonder the songs are so good. (The sound quality of the live performances isn't great in this film, but then it probably wasn't in real life in those days either.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Bob...a classic June 26 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
It would be impossible for me to say all I wanted about Bob Dylan in a short review, so I will just say I'm a huge fan. Don't Look Back is a classic, a must-have for Dylan fans. This fly-on-the-wall film shows Bob at just 24, ready to turn the music world on its head by "going electric." Dylan is shown doing what he does best (besides writing songs): toying with reporters and would-be interviewers like a cat would toy with a mouse. There is the infamous run-in with the Science Student (my favorite part of the film). Dylan turns every question the poor kid asks around and fires them right back with honed precision, leaving the young Englishman confused and babbling. There is the hilarious part at the end of the film where Dylan insists "I am just as good a singer as Caruso. Have you ever heard me sing? You have to listen closely, but I hit all those notes. And I can hold my breath three times as long, if I wanted to." Dylan is poking fun at himself, but the befuddled reporter doesn't get it. And then there are the intimate, silent shots of Bob on a train, removing his trademark sunglasses and revealing visible exhaustion, reminding those watching of the enormous pressures being placed upon him. Add all this to the concert footage and the classic opening to the film, in which a deadpan-looking Bob is filmed holding cue cards with lyrics to "Subterranean Homesick Blues" printed on them, and you've got a wonderfully entertaining look at one of the world's greatest artists. Included are supporting players like Joan Baez (slightly obnoxious in this film), Donovan, and Bob's manager, Albert Grossman. All Dylan fans, and fans of rock-oriented films, should see Don't Look Back. You won't regret it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So good it hurts June 13 2004
Format:DVD
This film gives the viewer a candid view of an incredibly talented, precocious, irreverent, and actually quite beautiful young Dylan revealed in wonderful concert and behind-the-scenes footage. After seeing the film I felt that Dylan's legendary arrogance has been perhaps misunderstood -- actually he was pretty humble and engaging with school kids and fellow musicians -- more interested in learning from them than in showing off his own talents. What comes off as arrogance is his almost allergic aversion to simplistic, cliched, or hypocritical concepts imposed upon him by clueless, syncophantic journalists and fans. His trenchant verbal sparring with a reporter from Time magazine, in which he argues that the readers of Time are settling for secondhand drivel and that Time has too much to lose by telling the truth, is one of the most refreshing and amusing interviews I've ever seen. Likewise, one can appreciate his struggle to avoid being pigeonholed as either a political activist or a folk singer; certainly his political sensibilities are profound, but he understandably chaffed at the attempts to turn him into a mouthpiece for any single cause or established movement. His instinctive fight to keep the doors of perception ajar has proven well founded; it is precisely his protean shape-shifting and incessant search for new levels of meaning and musical expression that have made him such a timeless icon. The one sour note in the film was his obviously strained relationship with Joan Baez, not only a brilliant singer in her own right but also a witty mimic and comic, whom he relegates to groupie status and mostly ignores. Given the fact that she invited Dylan to share her stage when he was virtually unknown, one would have expected Dylan to have invited her to sing a song or two. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Items arrived ahead of schedule and were as described by the seller. No need to use customer service. Very happy with this seller. Read more
Published 15 months ago by carriro
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best rock doc's ever
I have owned this movie in just about every format and it's always a treat to watch. If you are into Bob Dylan you have to own this film. Shot on his 1965 English tour. Read more
Published on April 27 2011 by Stephen Bieth
5.0 out of 5 stars Spending some time with Bob Dylan
Many productions you are expecting music and all you get is \people talking about each other and occasionally mentioning the artist. Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2008 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Bob's an ass, but that's ok.
If that's who wrote the songs, then that's who's supposed to 'star' in the movie. {Roger Ebert had to check his archives to see if he orginally noticed what a jerk Dylan was,(he... Read more
Published on March 15 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A n essential DVD for any Dylan fan
I absolutely loved this DVD, especially since I had read about it a Dylan biography. Joan Baez, Albert Grossman, and Donovan make appearences. Read more
Published on Jan. 17 2004 by Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy About a Green Door.
A previous reviewer wrote, "Often it's best for our heroes to stay away from the camera...[than] our illusions wouldn't be so vulnerable. Read more
Published on Dec 28 2003 by Nobody!
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Look Back
This documentary was both enlightening and entertaining. This DVD is a must see for any Dylan fan. Never before had I truly seen Dylan's ferocity and playfulness. Read more
Published on Aug. 17 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars It was such a long time ago
Of course I love Bob Dylan and I have most of his albums and I've even met him. His talent is limitless and far beyond everyone else's. Read more
Published on July 29 2003 by "quicken1"
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film that will turn you into a Dylan fan
I watched this film after just starting to get turned on to the music of Bob Dylan and was shocked at how good this was. Read more
Published on July 5 2003 by Cynthia L. Banks
3.0 out of 5 stars nice to own but...
it's not as enjoyable as I thought it would be. The concert footage is brilliant but that makes up only a small part of this doco. Read more
Published on June 20 2003 by Amazon Customer
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