Don’t Look Back Blu-ray Review
Freewheeling Bob Dylan.
Directed by legendary documentarian D.A. Pennebaker, “Don’t Look Back” takes a fly-on-the-wall look at Bob Dylan’s 1965 England tour. Over the course of 97 minutes, viewers see the renowned singer-songwriter backstage, on stage, interacting with fans and press, chilling with his entourage and fellow musicians such as Donovan, rehearsing tunes, reading articles about himself, and shouting about thrown glass. Dylan isn’t the only who gets screentime here as Joan Baez and his manager have key moments as well.
Unlike many documentaries, “Don’t Look Back” has no real narrative nor is it an overview of the subject’s career and life. Instead, the film is essentially a collection of moments from the England tour in which the documentary crew simply followed Dylan around. It may not sound overly exciting, but this slice of life tale from Dylan’s vast career remains highly influential and beloved amongst Dylan fans. The film is particularly noteworthy for its now iconic music video esque “Subterranean Homesick Blues” cue card opening as well as its “real-time” esque look at an artist in his prime.
Aside from seeing different sides of Dylan as a person, you also get several incredible performances such as “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” being played in front of Donovan. As for the others, well, you’ll just have to see for yourself to experience them.
Presentation: 1.37:1 1080pm. How does it look? The grainy B&W film has been given a 4K digital transfer and the film has never looked better.
Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? The newly restored audio is sometimes hard to hear during conversations but the performances are dazzling.
* “Don’t Look Back” trailer.
* A beautiful booklet featuring multiple pictures and an essay by author Robert Polito.
* An alternate take of the iconic “Subterranean Homesick Blues” opening.
* Audio recordings of “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” “Love Minus Zero/No Limit,” “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” and “To Ramona.”
* 25 minutes of outtakes.
* An interview with Patti Smith.
* “Dylan On Don’t Look Back”- A partial 2000 audio interview with Dylan accompanied by footage from the tour and film.
* A conversation between D.A. Pennebaker and Bob Neuwirth.
* “D.A. Pennebaker: A Look Back”- A collection of 4 documentaries. “It Starts With Music” takes a look at D.A.’s career and love of music, “Daybreak Express” is Pennebaker’s jazzy film about NYC, “Baby” is a short film about Pennebaker’s daughter Stacy, and “Lambert and Co.” is about jazz vocalist Dave Lambert auditioning singers.
* A convo between journalist/critic Greil Marcus and D.A. Pennebaker from 2010.
* “65 Revisited”- A 65 minute 2006 film comprised of outtakes from the 1965 England tour.
* Last, but not least there’s a laidback and informative 1999 commentary by D.A. Pennebaker and Bob Neuwirth.
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