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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Living in the Material World - movie review

It's not been shown on British TV yet, but it was released on DVD yesterday and I, fervent Beatle fan, snapped it up on day one. Now I'm one of those people who has over the years watched all the films, read all the books, listened to all the bootlegs and it's almost impossible to find anything on the Beatles that is new to me and whilst I've seen much of the footage here on past documentaries, both official and unofficial, there was much that seemed new -  Most Beatle related documentaries tend to focus on Paul or John, but because this work was centered on George, the quiet one, sometime underrated genius, I found that even the overly familiar story of his time in the Beatles had a certain freshness about it.

Director, Martin Scorsese provides an highly detailed look at the life of a true legend, and is every bit as good as No Way Home which was the director's look at that other legend, and close friend of Harrison, Bob Dylan. It's just as detailed and it presents its story warts and all - the love triangle behind Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Pattie Boyd is spoken about by both Clapton and Boyd i and I did learn something new from this section. Clapton for instance still seems uncomfortably talking about this period in his life, whilst Boyd is still overawed that she inspired the song, Layla. Drugs, excess and midnight races across London are all covered in the first part of this epic documentary.

It is the second half - the solo years - that provides the most interest and where much of the rare and new footage turns up.

"I think we shared a lot of tastes - cars, guitar and ...women, obviously."  Eric Clapton

"In a lifetime you can be anything." George Harrison

The final years of George's life were the most private and it is when dealing with this period that things become utterly fascinating. And it's impossible not to be moved by the stories of Harrison's dignified death.


1 comment:

Davieboy said...

Thanks for this review - like you, I'm a long-time fan who thinks he knows it all. Funny, George's music is now the music I turn to the most from the ex-Fabs. Will def be getting this DVD - may need to drop birthday hints....