Who is Harry Nilsson
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Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)? is a wildly entertaining, star-studded documentary that tells the story of one of the most talented and versatile singer-songwriters in pop music history and the man The Beatles dubbed their favorite American musician. The Grammy® Award-winners Everybody s Talkin and Without You ... the quirky Coconut ( Put de lime in de coconut... )... the whimsical Me And My Arrow, and the poignant One ( ...is the loneliest number )... these recordings are all the work of Harry Nilsson. The documentary, which Ain t It Cool News said, is everything a great documentary needs to be, reveals his spirited relationship with John Lennon and close bond with Ringo Starr, as well as Harry the legendary bad boy party animal who was at the same time a devoted husband and father. Director John Scheinfeld brings added emotion and intimacy to the story with over 50 Nilsson recordings, rare or never-before-seen film clips, home movies and personal photos. To this are added compelling interviews with top music and movie personalities who knew Harry well. They include Micky Dolenz, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Al Kooper, Randy Newman, Yoko Ono, Van Dyke Parks, The Smothers Brothers, Jimmy Webb, Paul Williams, Robin Williams, Brian Wilson and many others. As film critic Leonard Maltin noted, Who Is Harry Nilsson? is a vivid portrait of a gifted man...what a great reminder of his talent. The DVD also contains 93 minutes of Bonus Material Deleted Scenes, Extended Sequences, an Alternate Ending and more.
If you see one rock doc this year, make it HARRY NILSSON... Close to genius, in fact. --Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly
A lively documentary... exposure to the film should cause audiences to make room on their iPods for some serious downloading. --The Hollywood Reporter
Entertaining, informative and incredibly emotional. --Aint It Cool News
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There are a few areas where I wish they could have added something - I'd like to have known how he felt about having a #1 single with "Without You" when its writers, the Welsh rock band Badfinger (and specifically Pete Ham and Tom Evans), were utterly screwed out of seeing even a penny in royalties - but otherwise, for a film coming in at just a shade under 2 hours, what they've made encompasses Harry's life quite completely and lovingly. It begins with Dustin Hoffman offering a tribute to Harry (Hoffman, of course, was one of the stars of "Midnight Cowboy," which featured Harry's other big hit single, "Everybody's Talkin'," which peaked at #6 in the Billboard chart) on the evening following Nilsson's too-early passing (heart attack). We see Harry's childhood in New York City - specifically Brooklyn - his move to L.A. to pursue his muse while working in a bank to make ends meet, his relationships with his producers Rick Jarrard (who was a staff producer at RCA, Nilsson's label from 1967-77) and Richard Perry (who wanted artistic control of his recording sessions), and two of his three wives (the first, a brief marriage in the early '60s, gets only a short mention) - Diane, his second wife and the mother of his son, Zack; and Una, his third wife (and a clear case of "third time's the charm," as they were together for about 20 years and had 5 children together, 3 of whom also talk about their famous father).
And as I said before, he is presented sympathetically throughout - he seems to have unintentionally sabotaged his second marriage (Diane's impressions seem filled with regret) and his own recording career (RCA paid him off to leave the label in 1977 because they didn't like the records he was making anymore), and his apparent stage fright, reinforced by an early performance that didn't go well, caused him to scorn the idea of touring. This latter, of course, allowed him to be a better husband to Una and father to their children, but there's a sense of missed opportunity throughout, if only Harry could have conquered his demons (the ones which made him write the vituperative, F-bomb-laced "You're Breakin' My Heart" after his marriage to Diane ended, and conduct the somewhat uncomfortable session for "I'd Rather Be Dead" with a group of seniors singing chorus backup to Harry and his band). Yet his sucesses and high points are there, celebrated, and although Harry is no longer with us, you get the sense that, if he had to do it all again, he'd do it the same way.
Most recent customer reviews
many will never even hear of him