Review: ‘Don’t Look Back’

Don't Look Back is a cinema verite documentary by D. A. Pennebaker of Bob Dylan's spring 1965 concert tour of Britain. Pennebaker has fashioned a relentlessly honest, brilliantly edited documentary permeated with the troubador-poet's music.

Don’t Look Back is a cinema verite documentary by D. A. Pennebaker of Bob Dylan’s spring 1965 concert tour of Britain. Pennebaker has fashioned a relentlessly honest, brilliantly edited documentary permeated with the troubador-poet’s music.

During the month-long tour, Dylan was accompanied by Joan Baez, haunted by the rival reputation of Donovan, and badgered day and night by the press, teenie-boppers and hangers on. Pennebaker shot some 20 hours of film, and edited it chronologically to reveal a portrait that is not always flattering.

There is Dylan, faintly hostile, ‘putting on’ the press. In one classic scene he tells a Time magazine reporter exactly where Time and its readership are at, and if his outburst lacks tact, it seems to the point.

In one unique sequence Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman and agent Tito Burns wheel, deal and bluff the BBC, playing them against Granada-TV to double the price for a Dylan appearance.

Don't Look Back

Production

Leacock Pennebaker. Director D.A. Pennebaker; Producer Albert Grossman, John Court; Camera D.A. Pennebaker; Editor D.A. Pennebaker

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1967. Running time: 96 MIN.
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