Martin Scorsese combines his twin passions for movies and rock 'n' roll in this stylish mix of interviews, studio-shot production numbers, and expertly filmed footage of The Band's 1976 farewell concert.
After an on-screen message that reads "This Film Should Be Played Loud," The Band performs "Don't Do It," and Robbie Robertson, the group's leader, tells director-interviewer Martin Scorsese why they're calling it quits after 16 years on the road. The group is then seen at their farewell concert,
given at San Francisco's Winterland Arena on Thanksgiving, performing such Band classics as "Up On Cripple Creek" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." Joining them onstage and back in the studio are Ronnie Hawkins, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, The Staples, Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton, Van
Morrison, Muddy Waters, and many others. Bob Dylan does three songs, including the grand finale, "I Shall Be Released," for which the previous performers come back onstage, joined by Ringo Starr and Ron Wood.
Following the financial disaster of his first big-budget Hollywood production, NEW YORK NEW YORK, Scorsese returned to his early roots (he had been an editor on WOODSTOCK), and sought refuge in assembling The Band's concert footage. THE LAST WALTZ has much in common with NEW YORK NEW YORK, most
notably in the clash of styles which represent Scorsese's two poles of cinematic influence: raw, Cassavetes-like intimacy (the candid interviews with The Band); and flamboyant, Visconti-Minnelli-Powell-like mise-en-scene (the concert and soundstage footage). While it certainly helps to be a fan of
The Band, it's not essential in order to appreciate the film's eloquent accomplishments. From a technical perspective, it's undoubtedly the most impressive and authentic concert film ever made.
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- Released: 1978
- Rating: PG
- Review: Martin Scorsese combines his twin passions for movies and rock 'n' roll in this stylish mix of interviews, studio-shot production numbers, and expertly filmed footage of The Band's 1976 farewell concert. After an on-screen message that reads "This Film Sh… (more)