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THE LAST WALTZ

Director: MARTIN SCORSESE

117 minutes, U.S.A., 1978, Colour, D-Cinema


Since he has given us expert documentaries on Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and George Harrison in recent years, it’s a pleasure to revisit Martin Scorsese’s pioneering musical portrait of The Band, filmed at their all-star final bow in 1976.

In those far-off pre-MTV days, concert pics tended to be caught-on-the-hoof affairs, but that wasn’t for Scorsese, who enlisted Hollywood’s top cameramen and legendary production designer Boris Leven (who did West Side Story and The Sound of Music!) to ensure the whole event was produced and captured like a movie with its own visual identity. Interspersed with recollections from Robbie Robertson and cohorts, the result seems both spontaneous and seamless as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters and high-steppin’ Van Morrison share the stage with the quintet who started as Dylan’s back-up and became masters in their own right. What a time for music! What a gift to be able to relive it in such loving fidelity in this new digital restoration. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

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