Bob Dylan - Don’t Look Back DVD review

DVD release of a true relic of rock history

TODO alt text

Eventually released in 1967, DA Pennebaker’s documentary covering Bob Dylan’s UK tour of 1965 must already have seemed ancient, so much water had flowed under the bridge in so short a time. The footage is monochrome, raw and untreated, without commentary.

Even at its most inconsequential, however, it’s utterly fascinating, given Dylan’s badger-like elusiveness and reluctance to engage with the media. What’s more, in 1965, with his pallor and upward shock of hair, Dylan was the coolest-looking man in the world, as well as rock’s most evolved specimen; the creator of Attitude, when rock was still treated as showbiz.

And there are so many highlights: being given grief by two young Liverpool fans; being bantered at by Alan Price; turning schoolmaster in a Manchester hotel – “Who threw that?”; berating a Time magazine journalist; and jousting wittily with a young Terry Ellis, later the founder of Chrysalis Records.

It’s a treasure trove – and check out the bits that clearly inspired Spinal Tap in the making of their own rockumentary.