Martin Scorsese has struck again. First he made the documentary “The Last Waltz”: a film about the final concert of The Band. Then he makes a documentary about the early career of Bob Dylan called “No Direction Home”. Now he gives us this amazing documentary called: “George Harrison – Living in the Material World”.
The documentary aired last week on HBO. The documentary is in two parts and is a total of about 4 hours long. Scorsese was given exclusive access to George Harrison’s private archives by his widow Olivia Harrison. Much of the material has never been seen before.
Part one starts with his childhood and ends with the making of “The White Album”. Some of the highlights of part one were the discussion with Paul McCartney about how George auditioned for John Lennon in the dead of night on the top deck of a Liverpool double-decker bus. There are a lot of very interesting storys, pictures, and video about their early years in Germany provided by their long time friend Klaus Voorman. The best moment of part 1 is right at the end when they interview Eric Clapton about playing on the song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. Eric tells how George insisted that he play on the cut. Eric says that the song is about the slow disintegration of the Beatles from George’s perspective: “I look at you all, see the love there that’s sleeping; while my guitar gently weeps.” That was a wow moment for me. I had never heard that before. Now it seems so obvious.
Part 2 covers the break up of the Beatles and continues the story of George’s exploration of eastern religious thought. Highlights include interviews with Phil Spector, Ringo Starr and his last wife Olivia Harrison, as well as his son Dhani. There is a riveting conversation with Olivia about the night a nut broke into the Harrison home and attacked and stabbed George. Also, her description of the moment of his death.
This documentary is well worth the time invested to watch it. You can catch the reruns on HBO or it is available on demand at HBO GO.com.