Following the legendary & irrepressible jazz man George Melly through his last months as he shrugs off dementia and double lung cancer and continues to tour the country... See full synopsis »

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Katie Buchanan ...
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George Melly ...
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Following the legendary & irrepressible jazz man George Melly through his last months as he shrugs off dementia and double lung cancer and continues to tour the country... See full synopsis »

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7 November 2007 (UK)  »

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Themes of interest to the casual viewer but mostly a personal film for fans
22 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

George Melly was perhaps before my time but I do have memories of him on chat shows such as Wogan and just how big and outrageous a character he was for his whole life. It does help to know the subject of this film but it is not a deal-breaker if you don't because it is still an interesting film. Indeed it may be harder to watch for those familiar with Melly because it is always difficult to see someone you know as virile and full of life and see them close to death and dying. This film cannot totally avoid that but mostly it is sensitive in this area and only some moments are a little painful and I found myself thinking Melly shouldn't have performed.

Otherwise though the film is driven by the spirits and characters of George and wife Diana. Even with death approaching they are lively, upbeat and engaging people. They are why the film is able to avoid morbidity and leaving us with a poor image of Melly but they are also the reason the film is to be of interest to the casual viewer. It is a lesser appeal of course, but those unfamiliar (or uninterested) in Melly himself will find an engaging look at themes of marriage, relationships and mortality. It is not brilliant done and it is not something that the filmmakers go after with any aims, but the background to George and Diana's relationship is of real interest and does say something about staying together.

Probably not enough for the viewer with no interest in or knowledge of Melly but these aspects of their lives together are still interesting and it is perhaps a shame that to delve deeper is made impossible by the real focus. The tribute aspect also limits the learning experience about the dementia and cancer that killed him but again these things are in here. Not a perfect film though, as it doesn't pursue anything even though it does have plenty of interest going on. The casual viewer will find themes of value but mostly this is a personal film for those fans and lovers of George Melly.


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