Another Side Of Dylan On Display In Film Outtakes
Through catching him trying on loud, skinny ties, playing nice with journalists or waving at fans, a new version of D.A. Pennebaker's famed Bob Dylan documentary "Don't Look Back" paints the singer asThrough catching him trying on loud, skinny ties, playing nice with journalists or waving at fans, a new version of D.A. Pennebaker's famed Bob Dylan documentary "Don't Look Back" paints the singer as a warmer, funnier icon in the making.
While packaged with new commentaries from Pennebaker and road manager Bob Neuwirth, as well as a special paperback book and a clever flip-book, the jewels in the new "Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back 1965 Tour Deluxe Edition" are found in the batch of unused footage, such as uncut performances of such classics as "Don't Think Twice" and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue."
Before a special screening of the outtakes last night (Feb. 26) at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York, Pennebaker was interviewed by Neuwirth. He noted that he initially dreaded the idea of doing "Dont Look Back 2," and that he never had any plans to release the onstage or offstage leftovers.
"When I made 'Dont Look Back,' I thought I was writing this play, about this character. It wasn't a musical comedy -- it was a real play, a piece of theater, so I cut short all the music, because I figured people who were interested in his music would go out and buy his record and that would take care of that," he said.
But when prodded by Walker Lamond, the editor of the new outtakes, he said he saw the value in releasing the full performances. "When I watched them from beginning to end, I thought, 'Holy sh*t.' He would play to audiences of 2,000-3000 people -- a full theater -- and they would be spellbound, deadly silent, listening to every clink and clatter that he made."
In Sheffield, Dylan is seen surrounded by charmingly awkward and totally starstruck fans, who, in a loss for words, ask him what time the show starts and when he arrived in town. "I don't know what to say," says one. "Me neither," says Dylan.
Before the screening, Patti Smith recalled spending "weeks pay at the factory" to travel to Philadelphia and New York from her home in south New Jersey to see the film, noting that it influenced everything from the way she talks to the way she walks.
"For me, 'Don't Look Back' showed an artist who was both deeply generous and caring, had a sense of social responsibility but was also arrogant, free and new," she said. "And I think what I got from watching [the film] was the sense that all of these things were important -- not just to have attitude, but to have something to back it up.
After the screening, Pennebaker remembered Dylan nudging him to film him at the piano, thus capturing both a song in progress, and one of the film's most spellbinding moments. In one of the outtakes, Neuwirth, Grossman and Dylan are seen talking about the Beatles' planned visit to Dylan's famed Royal Albert Hall show in London, and where they would go if the crowd got out of control.
When asked why he didn't film the Beatles and Dylan together, Pennebaker said he did, dismissing the footage as "very sloppy," before adding: "The Beatles were just the Beatles. I wanted the movie to be about Bob Dylan."