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Review: Bob Dylan – 1941-1966 Tales From A Golden Age (Special Edition)

Bob Dylan – 1941-1966: Tales From a Golden Age (Special Edition)
[PRIDE/Chrome Dreams/MVD (2010)]

In association with the Dylan fanzine ISIS, here we have interesting interviews with Bob Dylan’s childhood friends and early professional associates, including British folk musician Martin Carthy, which shed light on the otherwise reclusive, mysterious songwriting icon.

The DVD contains none of Dylan’s original music, nor does it focus on any of his live-concert performances despite Dylan’s active touring schedule. A Ken Burns-esque style of photography—pulling into and out of still photographs—is contrasted against edited interviews with childhood friends, teachers, and other acquaintances.

This documentary, which benefits from its professional voiceover, is clearly intended for Dylan’s diehard fans, who must know his complete history and influences: the nuances and evolution of the man who transformed from a shy, poetry-loving adolescent into a worldwide music sensation. Even these folks might lose patience, since the details often become excruciating, especially when the film’s experts debate for many minutes about how and what influenced Robert Zimmerman to take on his stage name.

As a historical and educational document, Tales From a Golden Age does have merit; teachers might want to preview it for its historical 1950s and 1960s content and perspective, and for the firsthand accounts. It’s an informative work, but it lacks a groundbreaking perspective—numerous books and publications have covered this material for years. It’s more an unauthorized tribute than an important scholarly examination or performance document.

—Tim J. Nelson (Baltimore, MD)

© 2010 DriftwoodMagazine.com, All rights reserved.

[If you missed it and you’re craving more Dylan, check out our review of the book Shelter From the Storm.]

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