George Harrison

The Quiet One

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The Quiet One from Waterfall Music is a rather heartfelt video/audio tribute to the late guitarist, and one that is also very nicely put together. The interviews here, with George Martin, publicist Tony Calder, and others who knew the guitarist, are aimed at getting behind and inside the subject, especially understanding Harrison's childhood and his motivations in becoming a musician, and -- most of all -- how he coped with distinguishing himself in the company of two colleagues such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They pretty much succeed without any excessive pontificating. The one deficiency that viewers may find is the absence of music -- since this film didn't come from the orbit of the Beatles, Apple, or EMI Records, there is no Beatles or Beatles-related music here (apart from a rendition of the Buddy Holly tune "Words of Love"), or any of Harrison's solo work. Still, there is enough activity and good solid commentary so that this disc works as an artful assemblage of interviews intercut with newsreel footage (including the group's television appearance after receiving the MBE), old photos, and other visuals. The various phases of Harrison's life and career are recalled, mostly in extended newsreels from the BBC and other sources in which the other members of the Beatles also appeared. The packaging claims a running time of 75 minutes on the DVD, but it is closer to an hour, and the disc also contains a biographical and discography section that isn't too important -- the on-screen bio would be worthwhile if a different font had been used. The accompanying 58-and-a-half-minute CD is made from ten radio interviews and newsreel audio tracks from across the group's history and Harrison's life, from 1963 onward. These aren't in chronological order but they make interesting and diverting listening -- Harrison had a wry wit that surfaces occasionally in his dialogue with reporters, apart from the last interview, which is definitely from America. The booklet that comes with the package is nicely illustrated and contains a biographical sketch of Harrison, but is no more special than any other good obituary.