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|Index||107 reviews in total|
I always liked The Band but was not a huge fan, and I never got around to watching this movie until today, when it happened to come on TV. I wound up becoming so emotional watching this film, I cried. It was THAT good. Some of the finest legendary musicians to walk the planet were in that movie, and their performances were incredible. I just sat there, watching one legend after another come out on the stage, and I was overwhelmed with the memories and nostalgia and just how plain great their music was. They were all so poignantly young in this movie, which was made in 1976 I think. They were in their prime, all of them. EmmyLou Harris was like an angel, with that sweet, beautiful voice, wearing her long blue dress. Van Morrison made me cry....thats all I can say. Eric Clapton gave such an awesome performance, that I rewound it 4 times in all to re-watch it. He was just so....I can't think of the words to describe...he was so good, so focused, such a tight, excellent performance. Flawless. Muddy Waters---he gave a performance that just made you feel good, made you smile. I wanted to stand up, right there in my bedroom, and clap and cheer after every performance. And the Band....I gained a new respect for them. I always liked them, but watching them perform, and they were in synch with every musician that went on that stage...I realized I had underestimated them all these years. They were really, really talented. If you are a rock fan, this movie you can't miss. I can't believe it took me 30 years to get around to watching it!
This is the quintessential rockumentary of all time!! It stands as the finest example of how to present rock at its purest form, real,longing, intense, and still a tragic comedy. Never will a newcomer to the last waltz be less than amazed and forever a fan of The Band. The most special legacy about the Last Waltz is the special place it rests in the hearts and on the media shelves of the initiated. Whether they were The Hawks, Chocolate Subway, The Marshmallow Overcoats, The Crackers or The Honkies, there will never be any argument that they were not in fact THE BAND!!!! Thank you Rick and Richard for inviting us to the party.
In-depth interludes comprised of poignant reflections, comical observations and numerous sordid details from The Band's 16 years of life on the road intertwine with some of the most powerful live performances ever captured on film. This 1978 effort comes via Martin Scorsese, easily one of the most influential and imperatively directors of the 20th century. Scorsese, acting as the on-film interviewer captures very well the intimate details of The Bands' unpredictable, turbulent and exhausting everyday lives on tour. The on-stage portion of the film includes epic performances from The Band's "Last Waltz", during which they are joined by, among others Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, Van Morrison and Dr John. The combination of all-out musical energy combined with behind-the-scenes candidness from each individual of The Band creates an exhilarating 2-hour ride that always seems to end too soon. Even if you are not traditionally a fan of rock music, I still think this documentary has enough to keep you interested from the basic human-interest aspect alone. I would rate this film as excellent, being that I'm a fan of the music and a huge fan of Scorsese. If you're at all like-minded, you would being doing yourself a favor to give it a look.
while viewing several films during an all night jag, i popped "the last
waltz" in the DVD. what an experience! i've seen other music videos
before, but this was cinema.
martin scorcese directed and his touch is all over this picture-- a documentary on the last performance of the seminal 60's band, "the band".
what you'll find fascinating, other than the array of famous singers brought in to jam with the band, is the way scorcese has mixed in a few studio-set pieces to go with the live-theater performance. these set pieces, especially the treatment of the famous 60's tune, "the weight", are beautifully lit, beautifully camera choreographed... and beautiful to watch.
someone else in these reviews mentioned this was a "ground breaking" concert documentary. i believe it!
Here is a concert that took place over 20 years ago and the music is fresh
and enjoyable as if was when it was new. Even more important here is a
group of musicians who were on the road for years, working clubs and bars
that had a chance to become a success due to their musical ability not what
company they were with. Not one person in this concert could become a
success today. Imagine any member of The Band, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and
any of the other players, on this special night, trying to make it in the
business today. These people were not placed together to saturate a
demographic. They were not assembled for a particular look to please the 12
to 15 year old female audiences. They were not a promotion by a record
company or radio conglomerate to build up a profit base in a particular
section of the country who haven't been buying enough records of a
particular type in the last three months. These are a bunch of guys who got
together to play music, get laid and party and are thrilled that you could
come along for the ride. This is a look back on what was going on before
music was a global business that completely controlled what was to be deemed
I didn't mean to use the context of a movie review to spout off about what is going on today in the music business but the whole time I was watching I was plagued with the idea that the future generations would not have a Bob Dylan or Robbie Robertson to take inspiration from. Can the Backstreet Boys inspire you with their musical ability or Britney Spears, who can't even perform live, make you want to learn an instrument? I'm sure that there are many new talents, Alicia Keys and Creed come to mind, (both of whom were rejected by every major label) out there but will they get the exposure to effect the future as these people did; only time will tell.
This DVD release came out when there is a `revival' of the older 70's and 80's bands so it is actually timely. The reason of course for this revival of `oldies' is because there is so little in the way of creative music going on now and the copyrights have run out on the songs so for the most part the cooperations rake in all or most of the revenues from these greatest hits copulations.
The movie itself was a great mixture of interviews and the concert itself. The interviews were some single and some group but all very short glimpses into the character of each of these persons as part of the band. There were two songs that were done in the studio that really emphasized the roots that this music came from, Gospel (Staples) and Country (Harris) but both of these went with the flow. This is a concert of `imperfect' music with a sound from ordinary folks playing songs that most anybody with some guitar training could master quickly. This was a celebration of music, like Dave Mathews is now and the Grateful Dead were for so long. This was an affirmation that this band, as a total, was certainly greater that each of its parts. A great way to spend an evening with a six-pack, a pizza and your system turned up loud.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
or what Martin Scorsese did on his Thanksgiving weekend.
It might strike some people as funny that Scorsese, known more for films like "Goodfellas", "Taxi Driver" and "Gangs of New York" to also be the director of a concert film, but he's also had roots in concert projects, 2 of which were "Elvis On Tour" and "Woodstock".
What's amazing is that he was able to throw this together in a short period of time, but was also able to plan far ahead enough to be able to have everything set up.
He keeps most of the focus on the stage with very little audience shots which would've dated the film significantly. All the performances are great, but the highlights are Joni singing backup for Neil Young, Van Morrison putting in a spirited performance, The Band and the Staples Singers doing an incredible "The Weight" and Bob Dylan coming out near the end to "bring it all back home". Their original mentor Ronnie Hawkins shows up to do a song with them, Dr. John gives his 'Nawlins flavor, Muddy Waters puts in a great performance, Ferlinghetti and McClure round it out with their poetry. A Beatle and a Stone also show up for the party...
In between some of the songs, The Band is interviewed by Scorsese about life on the road and why they decided to call it quits at that time.
The music is also available in a CD box set.
Martin Scorsee shows here that he can do a documentary with vigor, observance in the eye, and by letting the performers speak for themselves more than anything. By showing the final concert of the band called The Band, he ends up going further with funny and insightful interviews, not to mention a riveting bit of business on a sound stage. Very intriguing, especially as I have become more familiar with the songs and performers. Note the photography- this type of style used two years later in the boxing sequences in Raging Bull (staying with the stage, practically not cutting to the audience). Great talent includes Van Morrison, Dr. John, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters (perhaps the best), Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. Only minor liability is that the performances may seem to slug for some, but this is more of a subjective thing, depending on how much you think the performers are putting in. It's definitely a bang worth the buck. A+
"The Last Waltz" is a passionate, symbolic toast to the glories of
American rock & roll. Especially for those artists in the 1960s who
took rock from its primitive foundations to a sturdier, more flexible
form of music and expression. In the fall of 1976, The Band played
their final concert, documented by Martin Scorsese, and is widely
recognized as one of the finest rock films ever made. "The Last Waltz"
peaked at #16 on the billboards, and the Hollywood establishment could
have cared less. In the Academy Award nominations for that year, "The
Last Waltz" was not even mentioned in the Sound Cinematography, and
Documentary Feature categories. The film is a technical breakthrough;
it went far beyond the boundaries Woodstock had set for live-action
Preforming their final night as The Band on record and film they gave thanks to those who taught them, sharing the spotlight with friends assuring that sixteen years would not be forgotten. A wide range of musical quests: Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Dr. John, Emmylou Harris among many others. Martin Scorsese masterfully captures their interactions on stage, while off stage he interviews each member (Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Levon Helm) sharing their experiences from sixteen years on the road. To quote Robbie Robertson: "We wanted it to be more than a final concert. We wanted it to be a celebration." A Thanksgiving day celebration indeed.
I have heard a few songs by The Band, but I am certainly not a fan, so it would seem that "The Last Waltz" would be a hard-sell to me but it was not. First, I found I enjoyed most of the music throughout the film--especially since I like rock 'n blues (and there is a strong blues/rock as well as country rhythm to the songs). How can you complain when you get to hear the likes of Muddy Waters, Dr. John, Eric Clapton and many, many others performing with The Band. Second, and much more importantly, I was very, very impressed with the quality of the film work. This was NOT a typical concert film where they simply stick up a camera and record the performances. To know more about this, watch the DVD extra for "The Last Waltz"--"Revisiting The Last Waltz". In this documentary, Robbie Robertson (from The Band) and Martin Scorsese talk about how they made the film--and it was really impressive. Instead of just stationing guys with cameras, EVERYTHING was meticulously planned and the camera angles and techniques show it. In addition to the live concert footage (which is the best I've seen), you have a few numbers that were done very well in the studio as well as interesting interviews. All in all, it's the total package--a very impressive and exceptionally well made film. While the music might not be to your liking, you can't help but admire excellent film making.
I won't drag this on long; too many other people have summed it up with
sufficient style and meaning for it to require another lengthy
contribution. What I will say is that it's the little moments Scorcese
captures that make this film for me; Robertson and Danko coming in too
early on 'Helpless' much to the amusement of a coked-out-his-mind Neil
Young; the little kiss Robbie gets from Joni as she comes onstage; the
wide smile of Danko, watching from his drums as Hawkins does a
masterful vocal turn on 'Who Do You Love'; the pathos of the second to
last scene, talking about those those who the road has taken.
Another stand out feature of this film is how great everyone looks. The drugs slim the band down, Robertson especially, and that emphasizes their features, magnifies emotion. The clothes are simple but fantastic; Dylan looks like the coolest man alive, Ronnie Wood's flamboyant jacket fits like a glove etc, the 70s were great for a lot of fashion and it shows here. Only Van Morrison, fat, drunk and balding in a tatty outfit is immune to the forgiving and flattering camera-work.
Other than that everything people says about this is true; the music is amazing, its beautifully shot, the interludes are cool, it evokes the period, it has sadness and euphoria, its paced perfectly. One of the best films of all time.
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