Dont Look Back


An unforgettable all-access pass behind the scenes of Bob Dylan’s ’65 British tour, D.A. Pennebaker’s landmark 1967 rock doc all but invented the form while presaging the music video with its oft-copied “Subterranean Homesick Blues” clip (watch for Allen Ginsberg in the background). Pennebaker hangs with Dylan and his entourage (including Joan Baez, Alan Price, and the droll Bob Neuwirth) as they move through a blur of indistinguishable hotel rooms and concert halls, pursued by highbrow journalists who want to talk to the oracle. The concert footage of the young Dylan in his punky prime is electrifying, but the most fun comes from the privileged glimpses of his sadistic wit. Exhausted and literally sick of being analyzed, Dylan plays fearsome head games with a hapless Time reporter and a middle-aged interviewer, while folk-rocker Donovan drops by Dylan’s room to play a wispy ballad for the gang—only to have his host smile coolly, ask for the guitar, then dash off a little something called “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” See ya in hell, folkie. The other priceless offstage moment belongs to Albert Grossman, Dylan’s manager, who provides a casual lesson in how to weasel extra money out of the BBC. It’s nice to know the Sex Pistols didn’t invent great rock ‘n’ roll swindles.