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Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back (1967)

Dont Look Back (original title)
Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | 24 February 1968 (Sweden)
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Documentary covering Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, which includes appearances by Joan Baez and Donovan.

Director:

D.A. Pennebaker

Writer:

D.A. Pennebaker
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Outtake of the famous opening of Dont Look Back.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Bob Dylan ... Himself
Albert Grossman ... Himself
Bob Neuwirth ... Himself
Joan Baez ... Herself
Alan Price ... Himself
Tito Burns Tito Burns ... Himself
Donovan ... Himself
Derroll Adams Derroll Adams ... Himself
Jones Alk Jones Alk ... Herself
Howard Alk Howard Alk ... Himself
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Storyline

Portrait of the artist as a young man. In spring, 1965, Bob Dylan, 23, a pixyish troubador, spends three weeks in England. Pennebaker's camera follows him from airport to hall, from hotel room to public house, from conversation to concert. Joan Baez and Donovan, among others, are on hand. It's the period when Dylan is shifting from acoustic to electric, a transition that not all fans, including Baez, applaud. From the opening sequence of Dylan holding up words to the soundtrack's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," Dylan is playful and enigmatic. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Artistic License Films

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 February 1968 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Don't Look Back See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$27,158
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Leacock-Pennebaker See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several people all wrote cue cards for the opening sequence. See more »

Quotes

Albert Grossman: They've started calling you an anarchist.
Bob Dylan: Who?
Albert Grossman: The papers. That's the word now.
Bob Dylan: Anarchist?
Albert Grossman: Right. Yeah.
Bob Dylan: The newspaper's say I'm an anarchist?
Albert Grossman: Two or three. Just because you don't offer any solutions.
Bob Dylan: You're kidding!
Albert Grossman: Of course.
Bob Dylan: Anarchist? Huh? Give me a cigarette. Give the anarchist a cigarette. Anarchist? A singer such as I.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The House That Jack Built (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

God Save the Queen
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

Brave portrait
20 June 2001 | by SchlockmeisterSee all my reviews

The documentary starts off well enough, Bob's famous alley video of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" in which beat poet Allen Ginsberg is seen gesticulating in the background. Then we see Bob and company arriving at Heathrow airport in London, prophetically singing "London Bridges falling Down" as they walk in. During this scene we see the first contradiction of the movie's main character. A passer-by who lights one of Bob's smokes asks him about what is different about him this tour, why is he so popular this time around in England. Bob brushes it off by indicating that he has no idea he is so popular and sort of indicating that he does not keep up with those mundane things. He then spends a lot of time in the film doing exactly that, stopping conversation to ask where he is placed in the charts and in reading his press.

It's hard to know how to take Bob Dylan in this documentary. Many of the interviews shown are ones given on the fly just before he goes on stage, and a certain amount of pre-show jitters and nervous reaction is probably to be expected. I would not want to interview a musician just before they are set to perform on strange stages in a foreign country. His interviews come across as a person who has been doing way too much of what we, in fact, see Bob doing all through the film, reading his own press clippings and being very impressed with what he finds. He comes across as a person who thinks he understands all, but is too deep to be understood in turn. So deep, in fact, that mere mortal reporters are not even worth taking the time to explain things to. He wastes the reporter's and the film audience's time playing verbal games, quibbling over choics of words in questions and in general coming across as far more self-important than he really is. This can be seen as anti-establishment, it can also be seen as being a plain old pain in the butt just because you can, to entertain your buddies.

Donovan is there, and is a presence from the start of the film. Bob is very aware of him, has been told that Donovan plays better than he does. Donovan was the British version of Bob and, at times, sold better than Bob did. They finally meet and trade songs, Bob sarcastically choosing to sing "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" right at Donovan. Joan Baez is there for a portion of the movie, beautiful and ignored by Bob and his entourage. Albert Grossman comes across as a bull in a China shop in England where the genteel older gentlemen who still handled promotion were absolutely no match for Grossman's New York tough guy ways. We see him on the phones, milking every last dollar he can from promoters.

Highly recommended documentary. For what it is worth, besides his music, this is about as close as anyone ever got to Bob Dylan. The film makers were wise in not asking any questions or directing anything, but just in letting Bob talk.


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