Living In The Material World
So this Marty Scorsese guy…he might have a future in film...
We all know Scorsese's background with great gritty filmmaking about the New York streets and his collaborations with Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio. The other side to the story is that the director has been involved in some sparkling great music documentaries. First, you have to consider the fact that he worked on the Woodstock film as an editor and assistant director. After establishing himself, he returned to music as the director of, of course, The Last Waltz, which chronicled the original Band's last stand in San Francisco. How about his week-long contribution to PBS's American Masters series - No Direction Home: Bob Dylan? Then there was the 2008 Rolling Stones' movie Shine A Light. And let's not forget all those amazing needle-drops he places in virtually every one of his films. I guess what I am getting at is that the guy's a music fan, to say the least.
In a statement about his latest music documentary George Harrison: Living In The Material World, the NY-based director said: "I will never forget the first time I heard 'All Things Must Pass' (and) the overwhelming feeling of taking in all that glorious music for the first time. It was like walking into a cathedral." In the film, Scorsese treats the so-called "quiet" Beatle's life with a scrumptious reverence it deserves.
This roughly three-hour film, which premiered on HBO in two parts on October 5 and 6, includes never-before-seen footage (great Beatles moments, concert footage, Harrison in India and at home, etc.), interviews with Harrison over the years, as well as input from Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Patti Boyd, Jim Keltner, Phil Spector, Billy Preston, Klaus Voorman, Tom Petty, Olivia Harrison, Eric Idle and Jackie Stewart. Harrison's son Dhani (who is also interviewed) reads passages from his father's diary entries, and there are lots of home movies, which, to me, is the best footage here.
What is amazing is how much about Harrison Scorsese brings to light when we may, in fact, have all simply assumed we knew everything. The end does bring a bit of a tear to your eye, but this is more a tear of joy for George Harrison, a man who lived completely on his own terms, searching constantly through a life that bordered on both the spiritual and material worlds.
And mark my words…you're going to be hearing more about this Scorsese guy.
~ Ralph Greco, Jr.