8.1/10
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Willie Nelson's 4th of July Celebration (1979)

R | | Music | June 1979 (USA)
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June 1979 (USA)  »

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Great concert film!
4 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The 1979 date is a little misleading because although it was apparently released theatrically that year, the actual footage came from several years earlier. I have heard a lot of conflicting opinions on this but most of the evidence points to it being filmed entirely in 1974 at the second 4th of July Picnic which was a three-day event held in College Station, TX at the Texas World Speedway. Also, FWIW, the title on the movie that I have seen is "Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic" (not "Celebration") although I have seen photos of two different posters--one calling it "Picnic" and the other "Celebration." So, unless there were two different movies, it was apparently billed under both names. Both film and TV cameras are evident on stage and part of the concert was also broadcast on Wolfman Jack's "Midnight Special" TV show on August 2, 1974 according to TV dot com. You can plainly see Wolfman milling about with Willie and the crew in a couple of shots from the film. There is also legend that the film was shot in 3-D but the only release prints I ever saw were normal flat prints that projected best at 1:1.66 (not widescreen). To further confuse things the copyright date on the film is 1977. I really have no idea why a film shot in 1974 would be copyrighted in 1977 and distributed in 1979 but based on very sketchy information, that appears correct. And, yes, as the previous reviewer noted, Leon Russell is quite drunk. The fiddle player is Doug Kershaw. Great concert film, and very hard to find. There was definitely some partying going' on! I'm a little surprised there has never been a DVD of this given Willie's popularity.


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