Bob Dylan

Don't Look Back: The Outtakes [DVD]

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This two-DVD set presents two and a half hours of unused footage from Don't Look Back, D.A. Pennebaker's documentary of Bob Dylan's 1965 British tour. It has undeniable archival historic value, yet its entertainment value is limited mostly to Dylan fanatics by the nature of the source material. Consisting mostly of concert sequences, many of the songs are incomplete, or suffer from sound dropouts (and even the occasional image dropouts). Most of the few non-musical segments are mundane ones where little happens, such as an airport departure, unrevealing snippets of press interviews, a piano improvisation, Dylan reading fan mail (mostly in silence), and a train ride (in total silence, without any sound whatsoever). All that explained, the image and sound quality is often up to the standards of what made it into the actual documentary. So fans will appreciate seeing numerous performances (and some songs) not represented in the Don't Look Back film itself, mostly focusing on prominent mid-'60s Dylan compositions such as "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," "Mr. Tambourine Man," and "It Ain't Me Babe," though less traveled tunes like "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" and "To Ramona" are present as well. There are, as a further caution, two, three, and even four versions of some of the songs, which is going to tax the patience of those who aren't committed Dylanophiles. Two sequences do stand out of particular interest, one being where Dylan rehearses "Outlaw Blues" in an acoustic version that's both folkier and gentler (somewhat in a "She Belongs to Me" vein) than the electric one he'd soon record for Highway 61 Revisited. The other is a performance, in the famous hotel room sequence with Donovan present in the small audience, of "Love Minus Zero/No Limit," which is the equal of any other music Pennebaker caught on film in the released movie. As a bonus, the second DVD tacks on the infamous 20-plus-minute sequence of a delirious Dylan sitting with a sober John Lennon in the back of a limousine, done as part of the filming for the 1966 Dylan tour documentary, Eat the Document.