Thursday, March 01, 2018

George Harrison - Living in a Material World

This documentary by Martin Scorsese highlights the life of the "quiet Beatle", George Harrison, from the time that he joined him most famous band at 17 through to the end of his life, losing a battle with cancer. He was a truly fascinating character - maybe the most fascinating of the band - and while the film glosses over some of his shortcomings (there are tales of his cruelty and womanizing elsewhere), he still comes across as a multi-faceted, loving human being.

The film is comprised mainly of interviews and Scorsese has access to practically everyone that George worked with, from Paul and Ringo through to Eric Clapton (who talks frankly of his relationship with George's wife) and Tom Petty. His wife and son participate and there is a lot of vintage footage of every aspect of his life - obviously, you have to love the early Beatles photos and films - and plenty of interviews with George himself, which are revealing, naturally.

The story truly is amazing and could only have happened with the 60's as a starting point. His time in Germany, their rise to fame, his devotion to Krishna and Indian music (and his friendship with Ravi Shankar) and his studies of the sitar, his departure from the Beatles (he is actually the one who left first, although he allowed himself to be talked back in), his solo career, drug use (although this is also kind of skirted), some pretty awful shows, his work with Monty Python, his obsession with the ukelele, the Traveling Willburys, his bout with cancer, the crazed attacker in his home and his eventual demise. Obviously, there is much more in this

Everyone interviewed shows a great love for George and it is very touching and shows that despite his faults, his goodness and talent prevailed. Although it is almost 3 and a half hours long, you could easily watch considerably more and never be bored by this incredible life and the incredible music that he made. Highly recommended.