George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Beatle Mania is something that’s hard to imagine
today. No matter how famous Justin Beiber gets it won’t touch how bug
nutty the world went for the Beatles in the 60’s - something that’s
followed us for fifty years now. George Harrison was a quarter of that
group and in that respect its’ not really surprising that a member of
the most famous bands in the world has such a documentary made about
Clocking in at nearly three hours this explores the
life and times of “The Quiet Beatle” in some depth through archival
footage, recorded interviews with friends, family and press coverage of
the time. Many of which are never been seen before interviews with key
players Paul Mcartney, Ringo Starr, George Martin and Eric Clapton were
conducted specifically for the documentary. As well as Dhani Harrison
(who looks so much like his father it’s not funny). This is a good
documentary, it’s exhaustive but then Beatlephiles would have nothing
less and Harrison (who succumbed to cancer in 2001) is an fascinating
subject almost by default. But therein lies one of the big questions of
the doco, given how interesting Harrison is, given the extent of footage
that exists of him and given his attachment to the Beatles was there any
way of making a boring documentary about him? In many ways the genius of
this piece is allowing the footage and interviews to speak for
themselves. There is very little in the way of commentary and no
narration at all. It’s not a new trick but it’s the best way to present
someone like Harrison.
If you’re a real Beatles fan or you’ve seen The
Beatles Anthology there won’t be much new revealed in the first half of
the documentary although its focus in George is refreshing it’s the
second half that will be of more interest. Of course it’s the second
half that’s got the emotional impact as friends and family talk about
the impact George had on their lives and how much they miss him now that
he’s gone. George certainly had a strange assortment of celebrity
friends; Monty Pythons’ Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle line up with Racing
driver Jackie Stuart and the Traveling Wilburries Tom Petty to talk
about George. The second half also has a more revealing interview with
Eric Clapton who famously ‘stole’ George’s wife Patty Harrison from him
(have so many good songs been written about one woman before, or since?)
and Georges’ reaction.
This is hardly a warts and all documentary and Paul
Mcartney’s revelation that whilst on tour George was a “Red Blooded
Male” nudge, nudge, wink , wink, say no more is hardly going to make
headlines but it is revealing and put events in context not just
historically but musically with select cuts of George’s music playing
throughout the whole thing. Recommended for anyone with even a passing
interest in Harrison, documentaries or the Beatles.
Video: Video quality is excellent all the way through
despite the video being taken from multiple sources throughout history.
Audio: Those with a decent surround sound setup will
be rewarded with an amazing 5.1 DTS mix that leaps from your speakers.
The mixes of Harrison’s music have been lovingly crafted, well worth it
for this alone.
Special Features: One live performance and Dhani,
George Martin and his son Gilles Martin going through the mix of
Waiting for the sun which is really only interesting if you’re a big
fan. Additional interview snippets includes a bit more with Paul
McCartney, Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynn and racing driver Damon Hill.