George Harrison: Living in the Material World DVD
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Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced in 2011
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
Following his film about Bob Dylan, Martin Scorsese takes an original, archive-filled look at Beatle George Harrison.
George Harrison was always labelled the Quiet One. However, he speaks with eloquence and conviction in Martin Scorsese's epic documentary, which not only achieves the remarkable feat of finding new angles on one of the most oft-told tales in modern showbiz, but also delves into the personality and philosophy of the Beatle who grew most as a man through his experiences in the best band popular music will ever know.
Following an assured assessment of the Hamburg years that forged the group dynamic, Scorsese reveals that while it was exciting being a Mop Top, it was rarely fun and John, George, Paul and Ringo only really began to mature as musicians once they ceased touring in 1966 and the media furore died down. However, the camaraderie of the road had essentially been holding the combo together and the pressures of producing consistently innovative music began to take their toll, especially once Harrison had established his own artistic identity and no longer found being the creative balance between Lennon and McCartney rewarding.
Paul and Ringo recall their time together with fondness and pride. But the most telling observations come from Eric Clapton, who viewed the tightly knit family with a mix of envy and disbelief and Scorsese notes that even though George relished his independence after 1970, he always enjoyed collaboration more than solo responsibility and celebrity.
Such insights become rarer as the complex chronicle of charity concerts, critically mauled tours, audacious film ventures, motor-racing and ukulele fixations, drug lapses, health scares and knife attacks is pieced together. It's a particular shame that, the Wilbury adventure aside, so little attention is paid to the later albums, as many are superb. Yet Scorsese concentrates on finding the man behind the songs and boldly leavens discussions of his sincere spiritual search and commitment to Indian culture with revelations from wives Pattie Boyd and Olivia Harrison about George's changeable temperament and periodic infidelity. What emerges, therefore, is a thoughtful, honest and affectionate appreciation of a decent if sometimes conflicted Liverpudlian who always suspected that, for all his earthly success, the best was yet to come.
David Parkinson on 29th September 2011
Author of 191 reviews
Martin Scorsese's documentary profile of Beatle George Harrison, Living in the Material World features never-before-seen archive footage and follows his years with the Beatles, his solo work and his private life, chronicling the key events from his birth in 1943 up until his untimely death in 2001. The film includes contributions from, among others, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono and George Martin.
Length: 210 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen
Cat No: LGD94765
Format: DVD Colour
- 2 discs
- Interviews: Paul McCartney, Jeff Lynne
by Anon on 11th October 2011
After much discussion I believe that my viewing was undermined by the opinions and cultural prejudices that I took with me. I didn't want to treat George Harrison as a... Read on
After much discussion I believe that my viewing was undermined by the opinions and cultural prejudices that I took with me. I didn't want to treat George Harrison as a towering genius because I don't accept that he was and it certainly was not part of the cultural strain of which I was part at the time. Cornerstone of the Beatles sound, good guitarist, fine but genius to worship, no.
But, if this file were a spoof, a la Spinal Tap, it would be / is a major film. It keeps resonating with The Glass Bead Game. The portrayal of what it's like to be that famous, to have access to absolutely anything you want. The persistent but brief referrals to the other side of Harrison, the unreasonable temper. The occasional mentions of 'that's when he fell back into drugs'. But most of all the pursuit of God. The entirely, utterly and completely selfish context in which he pursued spiritual enlightenment was mindbogglling. I believe that, if the Beatles are forgotten, this film would be seen as a masterpiece.
(I saw an article once - The Cultural Maven's Nighmare - A history class from 2370: cultural history of the 2nd half of the 20th century - "music was all messed up and introverted, you can ignore almost all of it except that in a period of 18 months in the 1970s Jimmy Webb wrote By The Time I get to Phoenix, Galveston and Wichita Lineman, works of towering genius." Everything else is forgotten.) Hide