Thursday, June 13, 2019

My Comments on Rolling Thunder Review: A Bob Dylan Story

I went to the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at Lincoln Center today to see Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese.  It was a much different documentary than D.A. Pennebaker's Don’t Look Back which documented Dylan’s tour of England in 1965.  Most of the film consisted of footage of the 1975 tour where Dylan and his entourage played before small audiences.  Filmmaking is certainly an art as Scorsese combined concert footage, dialog from 1975 and interviews that were done recently of Dylan, Joan Baez, Allan Ginsberg (died in 1997), and other performers.  A film that showed only concert footage would be boring, so Scorsese did a good job at combining components.  I didn’t see the point of showing Richard Nixon who was out of office by 1975.  Likewise, a scene showing the attempted assassination of Gerald Ford was not necessary.  I did enjoy scenes with Jimmy Carter who quoted Dylan in some speeches.

Allan Ginsberg was certainly an active player in the Rolling Thunder Revue, but I felt that he got too much screen time.  I would much rather have seen more of Roger McGuinn.  My favorite scene was when Roger introduced his own lyrics to Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.  Dylan gave him a look that is indescribable.  An article in Rolling Stone states inaccuracies in the film, so we can’t expect perfection.

This film is a must for all diehard Dylan fans.  The casual listener may not understand much of the minutiae.  Since I don’t have a subscription to Netflix, I had to see it in the theater this week.  I assume it will be eventually released as a DVD.

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