The special box-set re-issue of Don’t Look Back by Docurama is a must-have for any Bobcentric fan. Even Van Morrison is looking for someone to direct a documentary on him like Scorcese’s No Direction Home, and now here’s this latest Dylan goodie, re-enforcing Bob as the King Of the Music Docu. The film itself is quite breath-taking at times, the audacity with which Dylan puts on the ‘science student’ who really should have had his questions ready, and the poor ol’ Time magazine interviewer, who looks like your neighbourhood doctor, not to mention the episode where Dylan harangues the drunk who, allegedly threw the glass.
“You’re a big noise’ says the drunk, getting shirty. “Yeah, I am a big noise’ replies Dylan getting even shirtier.
The songs performances are special, especially the Royal Albert Hall, where Bob beside himself with glee (The Beatles are in the audience plus one Donovan) sings “I looked in the closet, and there was Donovan!” to much laughter.
Dylan and co called D.A. Pennebaker ‘the eye’ and that is what he is, as he says himself in the commentary on the out-takes 65 Revisited DVD, he just looks through the camera the way his eye would look at something. Generally Bob is cordial, shyish, smiles a lot, boyish, but you get the impression he likes to put on show of bolshiness for the people around him.
Again tellingly in the out-takes, Pennebaker comments on a scene where Bobby Neuwirth has left the room and Bob is left alone talking to some band, I think, and Bob suddenly doesnt seem so confident.
The 65 Revisted out-takes are interesting, here’s a gentler Bob, there’ s more Joan Baez, a lot more fan interaction-a really funny moment where Dylan walks along into a crowd of schoolgirls going to the train platform and when he’s on the train with Neuwirth he cant stop laughing. Also where he’s in a car and fans urge him to put on a Bobby Dylan hat (like the corduroy hat he used to wear)-he does and quickly takes it off- then as the car moves off, someones says ‘Bye, Dylan.”
Neuwirth talks a lot about Dylan being an artist on the commentary, although in fact he says that “The mark of Dylan’s genius is that the audience hadn’t a clue what he was singing but were still drawn to him. It’s called star quality.”
Lovely stuff. Songs on the Out-Takes include To Ramona, Baby Blue, She Belongs To Me, Hattie Carroll, If You Gotta Go, Go Now, and She Belongs To Me.
Extras include a fab book with the Dont Look Back transcript & photos and a tiny flicker book of Subterranean Homesick Blues. It’s well-designed and quite sturdy, a definite collector’s item.