Martin Scorsese interviews his mother and father about their life in New York City and the family history back in Sicily. These are two people who have lived together for a long time and ... See full summary »
In the late Spring of 1970, nationwide protests against the war in Vietnam focused in the Wall Street area of New York City and ultimately in a major anti-war demonstration in Washington, ... See full summary »
Thanksgiving, 1976, San Francisco's Winterland: the Band performs its last concert after 16 years on the road. Some numbers they do alone, some songs include guest artists from Ronnie Hawkins (their first boss, when they were the Hawks) to Bob Dylan (their last, when as his backup and as a solo group, they came into their own). Scorsese's camera explores the interactions onstage in the making of music. Offstage, he interviews the Band's five members, focusing on the nature of life on the road. The friendships, the harmonies, the hijinks, and the wear and tear add up to a last waltz. Written by
Guitarist Robbie Robertson's microphone is off through most of the show. He is seen singing at full strength, but no vocal from his microphone ends up in the film. (When Neil Young is singing the first verse of "Helpless," Robertson can be seen in the background mistakenly launching into the chorus as Young continues the verse. The words sung by Robertson are unheard despite the nearby microphone, and bassist Rick Danko can be seen telling Robertson he came in too soon.) See more »
During Garth Hudson's solo in the song "Stagefright", the entire song cuts forward approximately 25 seconds. See more »
[describing how The Band got its name]
Well, we were The Hawks.
And everything was fine, we were sailing along, and all of a sudden, one day The Hawks meant something else altogether.
And it was right in the middle of that whole psychedelia. Chocolate Subway, Marshmallow Overcoat. Those kind of names, you know?
When we were working with Bob Dylan and we moved to Woodstock, everybody referred to us as the band. He called us the band, our friends called us the band, our neighbors called us the ...
[...] See more »
At the beginning of the film it just says: "THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD!" See more »
Forget "Woodstock". Forget "Gimme Shelter". "Let It Be'? Forget that too. This is, truly, THE greatest rock and roll film ever made. Why? Well, try for a moment to forget that the actual performance itself features the great artists it does (including The Band) and focus on the film itself.
This film is shot in 35mm format which gives the picture pristine look (as opposed to all other previous rock films, which were shot on 16mm). But it's not just a spralling work, this is also well executed as well. By that, I mean the production value is outstanding. The lighting is unlike any rock concert I've seen (and I've seen many). The camera work is top-notch (apparently it was done by the best in Hollywood at the time). It's also easy to see that a great deal of planning went into the production. Other concert films (Woodstock, Monterey Pop) suffer from a "last minute scramble" look that simply isn't there with "Waltz".
Add to that the shear magnitude of what The Band had undertaken. Imagine learning, arranging and performing so many songs in so many styles by so many artists in one night with only one take of each allowed. When that is taken into consideration, you have to have a degree of respect for them. Of course, I'm bias. I'm Canadian, as were 4/5ths of The Band.
My only critique would be a technical one. It seems Rick Danko redubbed all of his bass playing. Whether this is attributed to a technical problem or unhappiness with his performance is unclear. However, what is clear is that what you hear the bass doing in the audio and what you see on the screen are completely different.
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