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|Index||109 reviews in total|
I had never heard of The Band before seeing this. Nor was I aware of the
pedigree behind it. Directed by Martin Scorsese on the coattails of his 1977
flop NEW YORK, NEW YORK (the film which was predicted to be the blockbuster
of that year, before a low-budget movie called STAR WARS decided to take
control!!) it is as far away from that movie as you can expect, but it is a
fitting and touching document to a band who were for years in the shadow of
Bob Dylan and became legends through sheer hard work and excellent musical
It first emerged as part of a BBC ROCK WEEK season in the late summer of 1982 (along with the likes of TOMMY and a MAZE - LIVE IN NEW ORLEANS concert) and from the minute I saw it for the first time, I was hooked on it, to the degree that I have seen it dozens of times and managed to also catch it at an NFT screening about four years ago.
Intercutting the songs with interviews with the Band members, reminiscing about their origins (early tales are particular funny!! with the highlights of the show (which went on for four hours in total compared to the highlights edited in the film) THE LAST WALTZ gives a rare insight into a musical group on the road and is a lesson to people of more recent successes (U2 - RATTLE AND HUM's Phil Joanou, take note again!!!)
Still the best, still 'the' Band....
Classic rock-n-roll, earthy blues, legendary artists and unprecedented
talent. One wish from this
guitar player: to experience the show even for one minute... well, maybe
WHOLE show. Rent it, but better yet, OWN it! Hah, a birthday gift for
take it easy! enjoy it.
Watched on AMC tonight and after all these years the music is and the artists are the best ever. Thank you Mr. Scorsese for this film and a tip of the glass to those that have passed on. God Bless all of you and the beautiful music you've left us.
Since the dawn of DVD,I've waited and hoped for this title. The wait has been well worth it. Do not walk,RUN,and get your copy now of the greatest Rockumentary to date. Never ending thanks to Martin Scorcese and Robbie Robertson.
I remember seeing bits and pieces of this film on late night TV many years
ago, as a teenage beer-drinking house party was winding down. At the time
was a casual fan of The Band, but more a fan of that musical
I decided to see the re-released, re-mixed version on the big screen, even while mindful that the DVD was coming soon. And I'm glad I did, despite the fact that the theatre - the only one in town showing this limited release - was too small, with a poor sound system.
What a Band this was. I could do on and on about the skill of all these guys, but suffice to say that each member who is not Robbie Robertson was just as talented, if not more so, than Robbie Robertson.
Musical highlights: a majestic version of "The Weight" with the smooth Staples singers; Levon Helm 'Driving Dixie Down' with an emotional vocal performance; Bob Dylan, who I am not a fan of, reunited with his mates and clearly digging it.
Interview highlight: the late Rick Danko, at a loss for words when Scorcese asks what his post-Band future is like. The camera stays on Danko, who is clearly overcome, for a long period of uncomfortable silence.
I'd always heard: The Last Waltz is the greatest concert film ever made. I
never believed it, since I wasn't a fan of The Band apart from humming along
to The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down whenever it came on the radio.
After seeing the restored re-release of the movie on a very big screen I feel like I've been missing out on the best music ever produced on the North American continent.
The Last Waltz is really a moving, singing history of rock, soul, blues and country music, performed live on stage in front of a very, very lucky audience. You get everything from Emmylou Harris to Muddy Waters to Eric Clapton, and with The Band backing them up, all these important artists sound better than anywhere else you've ever heard them. There's a crazy, passionate energy to almost every performance that sends chills up and down your spine. You could literally write a book about this movie, because every 5 minutes of it evokes entire histories of popular, rootsy American music.
The key, I think, to the night's performances is that The Band is ultimately humble. When they are playing behind Dylan, or Joni Mitchell, or even Neil Diamond, they are content to support the guest artist and play the role of, well, "the band". It's like letting the guests take over the wedding, in a sense, and it works. Dylan sounds and looks better than I've ever seen him; Van Morrison practically spontaneously combusts with soulful energy; Muddy Waters brings the house down with his low-down blues. And still you get Levon Helm's aching performance of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", a definitive performance of "The Weight" aided by The Staples Singers, and...oh yes, I forgot to mention...it's all filmed by a young Martin Scorcese, who shows he knows a thing or two about making movies.
This might be one of the best uses of film I've ever seen. I've
shown it to dozens of friends and their comment is always
something like....."no,..... you didn't oversell it." If you want to know
more about the roots of rock and roll in North America you have to
see this movie. The Band could do it all and they do so in this film.
They back up some of the greatest musicians of all time and it's
seamless. Their own songs are perfection. Richard Manuel, Garth
Hudson, Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm and Rick Danko are
Canadian (and American) treasures and you will find yourself
drawn to their music once it gets into your system. If I ever had the
pleasure of meeting Martin Scorcese, the first thing I would say to
him is, thank you for this masterpiece.
This is the film I was put here on earth to see. It captures the emotion, the madness, the mutual admiration and the danger of rock 'n' roll - it is a timeless energetic masterpiece. You realise that Robbie Robertson was born for the camera when you watch this... the way he moves, the way he plays his guitar and the way he talks - you just know, and you sit there in a wonderous state. Obviously, Scorsese had much to do with the technical beauty [ironic - but that's what it is] of the film, but it is the tightness of The Band that ensures the live spirit remains intact when transfered to a small glass screen. Finally, I have to point out that, though the whole film absolutely rocks, the set-recorded version of "The Weight" with The Staples as back-up is one of the most moving things you're ever likely to see or hear... only one other song has had the immediate effect of making me weep - that was "Pale Blue Eyes" by the Velvet Underground. Really, when you've seen this, you'll want to kick yourself for not having seen it sooner!
What can I say? I liked "Stop Making Sense". Great movie and great music. I did dig "Rattle and Hum". Who can beat U2 in concert? The simple answer is... THE BAND. Simplicity/complicity, cool and weird road stories, MEGA line-up of guest musicians, unforgettable cinematography, Scorcese, duelling guitars, brilliant music and... THE BAND. This is simply the ULTIMATE concert movie.
Martin Scorsese filmed one of the best concert documentaries ever, if not the best. While he intended to do it only as a side project while working on "New York, New York", he befriended The Band's guitarist Robbie Robertson, and worked with him for 18 months to make this incredible film.
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