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Scott Walker: 30 Century Man

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

SCOTT WALKER: 30 CENTURY MAN is a rare glimpse into the creative world of the most enigmatic figure in rock history, and will trace the undeniable impact he has had on popular music through casual interviews with some of his biggest, highest profile fans. We explore his fascinating trajectory, from jobbing bass player on LA's Sunset Strip, to his domination of the British pop scene that began in the swinging summer of 1965, to his transformation into a composer of true genius; an uncompromising and serious musician working at the peak of his powers. At age 63, over the course of 2005, he went into the studio again, working on what could be his greatest artistic statement yet - and we were invited to document part of this process a a privilege no filmmaker has ever been granted.

Review

Haunting! --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Haunting! --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Haunting! --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Marc Almond, Sara Kestelman, Ute Lemper, David Bowie, Brian Eno
  • Directors: Stephen Kijak
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Oscilloscope
  • DVD Release Date: June 16, 2009
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00227A81A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,242 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Scott Walker: 30 Century Man" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 18, 2009
Format: DVD
Scott Walker is a figure more talked about than heard for many music lovers. As a fan of the 4AD record label, I heard Walker's name come up again and again, whether it was as the inspiration for Brendan Perry's vocals or the aesthetic of Cocteau Twins bassist Simon Raymonde (whose father Ivor recorded Walker's youthful music). Walker himself was signed to this very label at the age of 60. After Walker released his album The Drift in 2006, I felt the time was right to finally encounter this musician, but I wanted some historical background on the Walker phenomenon. The documentary 30 CENTURY MAN is a good way to quickly get up to speed.

The film is divided into two parts. The first is the story of Walker's career and the effect it had on musicians who worked with him and who listened to the albums he released. Artist interviews include members of Radiohead, Sting, David Bowie, Simon Raymonde, Allison Goldfrapp, and Jarvis Cocker. There's a great deal of archival interview footage with Walker from the 1960s through the 1980s. The second part consists of scenes from the recording of THE DRIFT. Here one can see how Walker created some of the bizarre sonorities on the record, for example having workmen construct an elaborate wooden structure just to get the precise slamming sound he wanted. Much of THE DRIFT is piercing noise of uncertain origin, but the documentary gives you an idea of the instrumental forces used. It's remarkable how humble a musician Scott Walker comes across as in the interviews, absolutely sure of his aesthetic direction but very understanding that it won't be everyone's cup of tea. While not the nutty recluse that some suspected he was, Walker still clearly likes his privacy, but he opens up enough that the viewer feels a deepened understanding of his work.
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The subject is American, but his pre-eminence is strictly European. Fans of "Absolutely Fabulous" should remember Patsy's older sister claiming she was the subject of a Scott Walker song; fans of director Minghella's first (and best) film "Truly Madly Deeply" (comedy-tragedy-ghost story: deserves own eventual blog) should remember the woman and her ghostly dead lover singing a raucous cover of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" while fans of oldskool retro-60's classics on classics radio should recall "Make It Easy On Yourself" plus many anthemic others done with the same sonorous baritone over an orchestral sweeping vista.

The film is "30 Century Man" and the subject is Scott Walker. Once upon a time in the 1960's, three typical tall, skinny Sunset Strip denizens with long hair and bangs past their eyebrows plus failed C.V.s as musicians moved to England, wherein the intrinsic lack of tall, skinny Sunset Strip denizens with bangs past their eyebrows would allow them to actually stand out. And they did, to eventual mega-stardom. Precursors of the Ramones' hat trick, these unrelated chums named themselves the Walker Brothers, surrendered to mainstream pop, and had enormous hit after enormous hit there, with their flagship sound of Scott Walker's baritone crooning. However mushy the MOR slop tended to be, at least it was interesting having "one of our own" youth culturers singing this way, and all three looking so shaggable. Believe me, David Bowie was listening INTENTLY to this particular sound, and you can hear it every concert he sings to this day.
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4 Comments 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I use to play the Walker Brothers "The Sun Ain't Gonnna Shine Anymore"
on 45 in my room as a 12 year old kid. It was then that I realized that
Scott Walker has one of the strongest voices EVER. He left the group at
their peak, to pursue a solo career. He has put out several solo projects
where he interupts other peoples songs with dark passion, but strong
communication skills (sounds like a Vampire ?) anyway he has been compared
to Jazz Greats; Johnny Hartman and Billy Eckstine, which is great, but he is much more of a experiementalist. I have to admit I enjoy his earlier
works more than his most recent efforts, but I would drive from Miami to NYC just to hear him live. This Video captures his story, life, music etc
if you watch it, and go hmmmmmm, becareful, like the Vampire, once you invite him in, you'll never be able to get him out of your head.
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I have been listening to Scott Walker for many years and it is certainly not a stretch to say, that in terms of pure vocal ability and interpretive skill, he could be considered the finest male vocalist of the pop era. This documentary-style DVD fills in a lot of what has been missing (for the general public, at least) from Scott's complete story. I found the performance clips, especially from the 60's, to be worth the price of the video alone. Walker, although a self-proclaimed nervous performer (and in several performances you can actually see his hands shaking), performs with a kind of cool sophistication that you rarely saw pop singers display in that era. The 2006 interview with Scott, which is the focal point of this DVD, is very revealing and paints a picture of an artist who, although steadfast in his vision relative to his art, has paid a very high price for that vision. In my opinion, some of the peripheral characters in the DVD are, quite frankly, insignificant to this effort (particularly the insignifcant Marc Almond and syncophant David Bowie, who always manages to make anything and everything he talks about "all about him"). That being said, the reverence and respect that artists like Johnny Marr, Gavin Friday, and Jarvis Cocker speak of Scott with is what gives the film its emotional power. Most impressive is Brian Eno. His insightful commentary on everything from contemporary music criticism to music/commerce/marketplace contradictions to his own acute observations and assessments of Scott's work are priceless. This is a must see for anyone who still believes in artists like Walker who are, quite literally, willing to give everything for their art.
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