Classic Rock Videos, July 2012

starred review star Dawn of the Dead: The Grateful Dead and the Rise of the San Francisco Underground. color & b/w. 138+ min. Eliot Espana, Sexy Intellectual, dist. by MVD Visual, 800-888-0486; 2012. DVD UPC 823564529899. $19.95. MUSIC

More than a biography of a band, Dawn of the Dead is the portrait of an era‚ the mid-1960s‚ and a moment of significant cultural shifts and exploration. Like the best aspects of that time, the film is full of magical performances, enthusiastic descriptions, some surprising twists and turns, and more than meets the eye. The filmmakers incorporate wonderful archival footage, mainstream period broadcasts, home movies, photos, and contemporary interviews with participants in their effort to provide a cultural, political, social, and musical context. The soundtrack contains in addition to the Grateful Dead music from Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and others, and along with members of the Grateful Dead’s inner circle are commentators like Rolling Stone’s Anthony DeCurtis and The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau. VERDICT For viewers who have ever wondered about the place that drew so many people in 1967’s Summer of Love. Keep on truckin’.‚ Bill Baars, Lake Oswego P.L., OR

starred review star George Harrison: Living in the Material World. 2 discs. color. 210+ min. Martin Scorsese, Spitfire Pictures & Sikelia Prods. for Grove Street Pictures, dist. by Universal Music c/o 2012. DVD/
Blu-ray UPC 602527903392. $24.98; 4-disc deluxe ed. with DVD, Blu-ray, CD, 96-page book. $99.98. MUSIC

Music buff and film icon Scorsese follows his critically acclaimed 2005 Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home with this intimate and sympathetic portrait of Harrison (1943‚ 2001), the so-called quiet Beatle. The first half of this two-disc set concentrates on Harrison’s youth and his decade as the Beatles’ lead guitarist and sometime- songwriter, with Fab Four mates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr adding insight through enlightening new interviews. The movie’s second, more interesting half focuses on Harrison’s post-Beatles era, tracing his solo career from the immediate success of All Things Must Pass (1970) through the ups and downs of later albums. But Scorsese concentrates more on Harrison’s interest in Indian music and religion and his dabbling in auto racing and film production than on Harrison’s musical accomplishments, capturing the essence of this spiritual and seemingly egoless man but leaving enough gaps to frustrate diehards. Included are archival interviews with Harrison throughout his long and influential career as well as new interviews with friend and romantic rival Eric Clapton and a host of musical colleagues. Bonus extras include live footage. VERDICT One of the better music documentaries in recent years; for anyone interested in this unconventional rock star’s remarkable life.‚ Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia

Worried About the Boy. color. 91+ min. Julian Jarrold, Red Prod. Co. in assoc. with Carnival Films for BBC, dist. by Entertainment One, 2012. DVD ISBN 9781417237524. $19.98. MUSIC/F

Originally produced for BBC television, this superficial coming-of-age feature relates how young George O’Dowd (b. 1961) became Boy George in the early 1980s. The film follows the young man through the London club scene as he establishes his outlandish persona and explores his sexuality while budding into the eventual fashion and pop music icon as lead singer of Culture Club. But little is revealed about how Boy George’s band quickly rose to 1980s pop music fame before heroin and interband squabbling tore the group apart and sent its gender-bending lead singer on a well-publicized drug-fueled downward spiral. Newcomer Douglas Booth is convincing as Boy George, but the story’s lack of detail or insight keeps this from being anything more than passable lightweight entertainment with lots of melodrama. The colorful sets and costumes are visually appealing, but the mostly soundalike soundtrack is a dis appointment. VERDICT Only Boy George fanatics and viewers who liked the far superior Falco: Rise & Fall of an 80’s Pop Icon might find this worthwhile.‚ Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox ( is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"