"Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story"
directed by Martin Scorsese
(TV-MA, 2 hours 22 minutes)
Those who miss live concerts (thanks, pandemic) as well as a combustible era (1975) when people from varied backgrounds and attitudes could disagree about all sorts of things yet gather to enjoy fine music -- should be lining up to watch this multi-layered documentary, which is now being re-issued by the Criterion Collection.
Even if you're not a Bob Dylan fan, there's much to appreciate in Martin Scorsese's second examination of the singer/songwriter (the first is 2005's "No Direction Home," which concerns Dylan's early life and career).
That film had a running time of of three and a half hours; this one is much more manageable at a little over two hours, and sparkles with restored performance footage that is wide-ranging enough to offer something to all sorts of viewers, no matter what their musical tastes.
It helps that Dylan's stage is shared with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Bob Neuwirth, Roberta Flack, Mick Ronson, Sharon Stone, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Patti Smith, Joan Baez, Sam Shepard, T Bone Burnett, Roger McGuinn and Allen Ginsberg.
There's a lot of storytelling -- only some of it true -- along with the music that, along with backstage goofing around, adds to the entertainment value. Not to be missed is a sensational bit of archival footage featuring Mitchell playing her new song "Coyote" -- which McGuinn introduces as being written "about this tour and on this tour and for this tour," though everyone presumes she wrote it about Shepard -- at at Gordon Lightfoot's house, with Dylan and McGuinn joining in on guitar.
This edition includes new interviews with Scorsese, editor David Tedeschi, and writer Larry "Ratso" Sloman; restored footage of performances of "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You" and "Romance in Durango," and of a never-before-seen cut of "Tangled Up in Blue," as well as an essay by novelist Dana Spiotta and pieces from Shepard, Ginsberg and poet Anne Waldman
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