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“Bob Dylan: No Direction Home”
Reviewed by: Wayne Klein
Genre: Documentary
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 52.0
Languages English
Subtitles English (5.1), English (2.0)
Length 201 minutes
Rating NR
Release Date 9/20/05
Studio Paramount Home Video
Commentary: None
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: None
Filmography/Biography: None
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: None
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: None
Music Video: “Positively 4th Street” unused promotional short,
Other: “I Can’t Leave Her Behind” work in progress video
Cast and Crew:

Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Liam Clancy, John Cohen, Allen Ginsberg, Woody Guthrie, Al Kooper

Written By: None listed
Produced By: Martin Scorsese
Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Music: Bob Dylan
The Review:

Perhaps inspired by “The Beatles Anthology” or just the need to finally tell his story without all the subterfuge that has been at the center of his life for so long, “Bob Dylan: No Direction Home” captures the essence of Dylan. Originally aired on PBS as a two-part documentary on Dylan, we discover that before he became a folk troubadour, he grew up a small town kid just like a lot of us. Before he was Bob Dylan he was Robert Zimmerman a talented songwriter/folk musician looking to forge an identity as distinctive as Woody Guthrie’s but with all the mystery and allure of a movie star. Covering Dylan’s life, director Martin Scorsese takes the various strands of Dylan’s life, music and art and successfully weaves a rich tapestry. Scorsese and Dylan (who provided the director access to archived footage and rare recordings housed at Columbia Records) aren’t afraid to do a little mythologizing and demonizing as well; we see Dylan become a petulant incomprehensible fool at times but we also get a glimpse behind the persona that Dylan crafted so well. Scorsese doesn’t remove the mask just pull it up to reassure us that there is, indeed, a human being underneath all the artific. ---

Image and Sound:

A very nice transfer and mix of vintage and recent footage, “Bob Dylan: No Direction Home” doesn’t look perfect but then the image fits the picture painted of Dylan himself—an imperfect but dazzling artist. The vintage footage varies a bit in quality from extremely good to OK but that’s due more to the source and not the transfer itself. The new interview footage looks sharp, crisp and clean with solid blacks and accurate colors. The audio varies a bit as well given that we hear a mix of vintage material from the vaults and newly recorded comments.

The Extras:

While this isn’t an extra per se, I would like to point out that the chapters are nicely placed on the disc. The live performances are also indexed very nicely as well. We get an unused promotional spot shot for “Positively 4th Street” Dylan’s acerbic, witty and sarcastic put down of holier than thou folk fans and footage of the performance of “I Can’t Leaver Her Behind” which it is suggested is a “Work in Progress in Hotel Room”. It lives up to its title.

Commentary: No commentary track
Final Words:

Almost as mysterious as it is enlightening, “Bob Dylan: No Direction Home” (quoting a line from “Like a Rolling Stone”) gives us a glimpse into the life of America’s celebrated musician. From folk star to rock star, Dylan has continued to break barriers throughout his long career. He’s not perfect but man he sure looks good in that “Leopard Pillbox Hat”.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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