The Last Waltz (Special Edition)
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- New 5.1 audio remix and new transfer
- Featurette: "Revisiting The Last Waltz"
- Archival outtakes: Jam 2
- Photo gallery
Top Customer Reviews
As Levon Helm relates in his rather bitter memoir "This Wheel's on Fire," the decision to disBand was Robertson's alone and the Last Waltz was a somewhat reluctant exercise on the part of the other four. This shows to varying degrees in the interviews which are dispersed throughout the concert footage: Robertson, who appears far more often than the others, looks animated and a bit rehearsed (although it's hard not to feel some animosity towards him if you've read Helm's book) while the others look tired or worse. (Helm's description of Richard Manuel as "looking like Che Guevara after the Bolivians got done with him" is all too close to the mark!) While unflattering to a degree, the interview scenes do speak volumes about what the music industry did to one of rock's all time greatest bands and the truth about the then-impending breakup. The Band did, after all, reunite sans Robertson as soon as they were legally able to use the name again without his blessing.Read more ›
Watch the closeup footage of Levon Helm engulfed in a cool blue light while belting out an amazing version of "Ophelia". Watch Joni Mitchell filmed in a silouhette backstage as she secretly sings backup to Neil Young's "Helpless". Watch Dr. John's hands float effortlessly over the piano keyboard while performing a rousing version of "Such A Night". Watch Rick Danko as he curiously peers over at Bob Dylan, completely unsure of what song they are about to launch into next. Filled with countless moments like these, "The Last Waltz" is pure enjoyment to the very end.
Since falling in love with this movie, I have learned that drummer Levon Helm was a very uncooperative participant in the production of the movie. He was not ready for The Band to quit, he believed that Robbie Robertson wanted to make this movie only to further his "rock star" persona, he did not like the fact that Neil Diamond was involved in this project only because Robbie Robertson had just produced a record for him, and from Day 1, he did not like Martin Scorsese.
Knowing that, it is interesting to note how removed Levon seems to be during the interviews, and how much Robbie playes the "Rock Star" role, professing exhaustion from the road, and not knowing how he can go on with this lifestyle.
I am not saying that Levon or Robbie is right or wrong, I am just saying that it is interesting to watch this movie knowing how at least one of the members of the group felt about the project.
If you care about music and quality filmaking, "The Last Waltz" should be part of your permanent collection.
There are two outstanding commentary tracks on this dvd. One of them features director Martin Scorsese and Robbie Robertson (of The Band). Over the course of the film, they provide a great deal of insight into the making of the documentary. Equally valuable is the second audio commentary, which features many participants (the other surviving Band members, a few of the guest performers such as Dr. John and Mavis Staples, and several crew members, among others). Although the many participants were recorded separately, the track tightly edited with nary a dull moment. A nice touch: you can select a subtitle feature which will bring up the name of the person who is speaking while the commentary plays.
If all that weren't enough, the 20 minute featurette contains good recent interview footage with Scorsese and Robertson. And there is a 12 minute outtake which is an all-star jam session (the instrumental jam itself isn't all that exciting, but with that kind of line-up it's well worth watching). Even the Still Photo gallery had more care put into it than most dvds, with the photos divided into three sections, many featuring captions to identify what we're looking at.
The movie itself looks and sounds so good, it justifies the purchase. But the supplemental material puts this way above the 5-star level.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
ok to learn about BAND members, interesting anecdotes, BAND performs, on some songs joined by others. audio levels unbalanced.Published 7 days ago by Perspectech
If you love the Band you will love this. There is not a lot of video out there with these guys - so it is great to see this and get to know them a little bit better. Read morePublished 10 days ago by marty hadge
I've watched this once or twice a year since 1998, the first time I saw it. BEST rockumentary, most comprehensive.Published 11 days ago by lucefan
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