Dont Look Back

Dont Look Back Title

Dylan with director D.A. Pennebaker

Subterranean

Playin' in the country!

One of the advantages of being at a “RESEARCH ONE INSTITUTION” are amazing on campus resources like a dedicated cinema that shows rare, indie and international films. I caught “Dont Look Back” a docudrama about Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of London. The film was gorgeous, partially because of the film grain and high contrast. It gave you an honest perspective of his life during the tour (stressed/constantly under questioning and ridiculing). The typography at the beginning of the movie was excellent. A big bold black title rested in the corner of the screen which was barely readable near Dylan’s wiry frame dressed in all black. The director’s name followed, stretched across the screen and completely unreadable. This all happened shortly after a quick snippet of “Subterranean Homesick Blues” that featured a cameo by Allen Ginsberg. If you haven’t seen this video, watch it below. If you have, watch it again!

A lecture preceded the film which mentioned Dylan being in a state of complete mental and physical dissolution by the time he left London. It was also mentioned that Dylan was convinced he would abandon songwriting all together after the experience in favor of a career in prose. However, after discovering one of his songs covered electrically by a British group hit #1 on the pop charts, wrote and recorded “Like a Rolling Stone” within 2 weeks of his return State-side and the rest is history.

One of the funny aspects of the film was this ongoing rivalry with an English singer songwriter by the moniker “Donovan.” He plays a great song while hanging with Dylan and his compatriots (he is obviously borrowing “a little” from Dylan’s songwriting style and presentation, regardless it’s a catchy well-written song). Watch a video of the track below.

Overall, if you like Dylan, see this film! It has been released in all the chrome on blu-ray. My favorite parts: a raging Dylan over the behavior of his hotel room guests surrounding throwing of glass bottles out of the window to the streets, Dylan’s exceptional one liners (“Give the ‘Anarchist’ a cigarette!”), anytime Joan Baez sang and Dylan’s irritating conversation with a “science student” who is a total gimp with no social skills (this guy actually grows up to be a big whig in the music industry who discovers Blondie).

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