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|Index||113 reviews in total|
By now, the "story" behind THE LAST WALTZ is well known. It is a
concert film depicting The Band's "farewell concert" on Thanksgiving,
1976 at the Winterland. Thanks to Netflix, I finally was able to watch
THE LAST WALTZ. Among such other concert films as CONCERT FOR
BANGLADESH and STOP MAKING SENSE, it is a wonderful period piece,
capturing its era. The musical performances in this film are very
solid. The Staple Singers join in for part of THE WEIGHT, Van Morrison
makes a curious stage exit before his song is even done, and Neil
Diamond reminds us of the gifted songwriter he could be.
I really wish the film had just stayed with the musical performances. Unfortunately, we also get numerous "backstage interviews." These mar and slow down the pacing of the film and as such, these segments have not aged well. Most of The Band, speak in monotones and (no disrespect intended) but Rick Danko and Richard Manuel seem so drugged-out in these segments, it's no wonder they have since died.
I could give this movie a 10 were it not for the interview segments. Still, don't let that detract you. Hit the fast-forward button and enjoy some wonderful music performances.
As for what happened to the performers since then: Levon Helm did get into some acting, most notably in COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER. Robbie Robertson had something of a solo comeback in the late 1980s. Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Van Morrison have continued to write compelling new music. And Eric Clapton of course has had the most successful career since then.
One of the best rock concert-movies. It will bring back many great memories for the boomers and is great show for all the new rockers. A must see for music lovers. As far as Robby and Eric squaring off...Robby your good but is this really fair to compare him to Slow Hand? The special feature was great. The jamming scene not included in the movie is a who's who of Rock & Roll. On stage jamming, Neil Young, Ron Wood, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Dr. John, Levon Helm,and Ringo Starr, were among some of the performers.
Martin Scorsese's stylish documentary/concert film 1978's "The Last Waltz" is one of the great and last concert films ever to come out in movies.It's mostly about The Band's farewell concert on Thanksgiving Day,1976 in San Francisco.Along with mostly concert footage,you'll also see interviews with the group's members all of which conducted by Scorsese himself.It also has some of rock n' roll legends such as Bob Dylan,Neil Young,Joni Mitchell,Ringo Starr,Neil Diamond,and many others which also makes the film surprising as it is.In the classic tradition of "Woodstock",and "Stop Making Sense","The Last Waltz" is brilliant in both directing and excellent camerawork and remains as one of the great documentary films ever made.A Real work of documentary filmmaking from a legendary filmmaker.Nobody does it better as Scorsese does!
This is the world of music live on stage! Nothing tops this and it has everything to offer.Joni Mitchell is an angel.In some editions of this film,Neil Young has a huge chunk of a white substance in his left nostril, after a few copies got on screen the "beak" was deleted.All in all this film kicks the crap out of "Woodstock".
The concert footage was the best aspect of The Last Waltz. The songs were great, in particular "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "The Weight," and "It Makes No Difference" as well as when Bob Dylan joined them on stage for "Forever Young," "Baby Let Me Follow You Down," and "I Shall Be Released." Van Morrison and Neil Diamond (Why was he there anyway?) were the only exceptions. The interviews were awkward and unnatural. Martin Scorcese was annoying and nerdy and shouldn't have been in the film at all. His buddy, Robbie Robertson, hogged the spotlight, which grew tiring. Rick Danko was much more interesting and deserved more attention.
The Band's last concert was filmed by Martin Scorsese, and is full of the
group's great rock/country music. Also includes performances by Eric
Clapton, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and more.
Scorsese's discussions with Band members Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm
For those of you who are fans of The Band, you will be in hog heaven whilst watching this film. For the rest of us, well, the photography is beautiful and occasionally the music matches it. Personal highlights would be Muddy Waters singing I'm A Man, The Staple Singers, Ronnie Hawkins performing Who Do You Love, and Doctor John.
Last Waltz, The (1978)
**** (out of 4)
Martin Scorsese's terrific documentary covering The Band's farewell performance at the Warfield in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day 1976. The pure size of this concert is something rather amazing. Not only do you get The Band doing their classics but they're joined on stage by the likes of Ronnie Hawkins (Who Do You Love), Neil Young (Helpless), Dr. John (Such a Night), Neil Diamond (Dry Your Eyes), Joni Mitchell (Coyote), Muddy Waters (Mannish Boy), Eric Clapton (Further On Up the Road), Van Morrison (Caravan) and a large finale with Bob Dylan (Forever Young, Baby Let Me Follow You Down, I Shall Be Released). Among The Band's classics are Up on Cripple Creek, Stagefright, The Shape I'm In, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and a studio version of The Weight. Strictly speaking of the music, it's clearly wonderful with everyone giving it their all and clearly they all know that they're involved in something extremely special. Some of the highlights include Young's "Helpless", Muddy Water's "Mannish Boy" and of course the finale with Bob Dylan who had used The Band (known as The Hawks) as his backup band and also used them for the album Planet Waves. The second aspect of the film are the interviews that Scorsese does with the group, which covers the start of their career, the girls on the road, their influences and even some moments which are clearly dark times for the group including why this was going to be the final show. I've heard many people talk about how depressing the film is because you are actually seeing their last show but while it's true it sucks the group never got back together, I think it's a little unfair to blame the movie. The movie is technically brilliant on all levels and you really have to give Scorsese and company credit for being able to pull it off. Of course, your appreciation of The Band's music is probably going to determine how much of this you actually enjoy. If you're a fan then this film is almost like a dream and especially with all of the talent involved.
Just a comment about many of the previous posts mentioning this
documentary as the last bastion of music before commercialization.
On one hand, I agree. "Radio" which pre-defines popular music today, pushes music to us that steals raw emotion and soul from the listening experience.
However, there is an abundance of great music that while not commercially successful in many cases (if you define successful by ratings on Top 40 radio) still exists and actually influences many of us out there today.
If you are a fan of The Band and the other performers in The Last Waltz support bands like Widespread Panic, Gov't Mule, Donna the Buffalo, Railroad Earth, Tea Leaf Green and many, many others.
The music lives on! These just aren't obscure bands that play in my neighborhood. All can be found on iTunes. Support the bands that make real music.
With the Internet there is no need to decry the end of great music and terrific musicians. Only apathy. It exists and it's not that hard to find. The Good Ole' Days argument doesn't work anymore.
This movie moves me every time. It is incredible from start to finish.
Most people read the guest star list and think "wow, all these famous people! How did the Band get them to play!?" It is the opposite, however. EVERYONE in 60s and 70s non-pop music knew The Band - and wanted to play with them.
How is such a well respected band not widely known by the public? Everyone in rock during the 70s knew this band, and wanted to be them! Clapton said that he left Cream hoping desperately to join The Band, who turned him down.
The Band is not well known, aside from those who really know music. They are probably most famous for The Weight, and for being Bob Dylan's band. They are, however, deserving of their very own prominent place in music history.
These men are incredibly talented and funny. It is great to watch their interactions and stories during the interview portions. They have obviously grown together as a family. I find the interview portions as fun to watch as the music, as they give these great men depth.
The music is of course fantastic. Watch Levon Helm sing as he is drumming as if it is effortless! He is incredible! This movie has the BEST version ever of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. And the Clapton-Robertson guitar "battle" is legendary.
I recommend this film to all of my friends, and everyone has fallen in love with The Band. Rightfully so.
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