Lyric For The Day 11.11.11 from Let The Earth Bear Witness by The Waterboys
Lyric For The Day 13.11.11 from Beautiful Boy by John Lennon

GEORGE HARRISON - LIving In The Material World

George Harrison LITMW movie

Since I was fifteen years old, in the spring of 1976, when I swapped some of my Smokie singles for Please, Please Me, A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles For Sale and Help! (great deal – sorry Colin!) I have been an obsessive Beatles’ fan. Today I own every official release, together and apart, and a lot more recordings than that! I have read every book and feel there is little about any of the four Beatles that I don’t know about. Yet, the three and half hours of Martin Scorcese’s biopic on George Harrison had me gripped and fascinated for three and a half hours, and I saw lots of things I hadn’t seen before. This is one, actually two great rock movies. The television showing tonight and tomorrow night will give longer than the cinema’s 15 minutes and thus tonight you get Harrison from birth to the end of The Beatles and then tomorrow night we get his post Beatles’ years.

Three things make the movie astounding. Firstly, that Martin Scorcese is the director and thus quality is guaranteed. As a film maker Scorcese was not going to do the obvious and that is the second feature that this is not so much focused on Harrison’s music, particularly in the second half, but on a life. Scorcese shows that life warts and all. It is quite a story too. An ordinary boy becomes one of the most famous men on the planet in his early thirties. He lives, if not propels, the fastest changing years in history and in the vortex of that realises that there is more to life than this fame and tries to withdraw. There is a real honest tension in Harrison’s life. He finds eastern mysticism which tells him that the material world is to be run away from and so he runs away from it at times and towards it at other times. Scorcese drops us into a spiritual man wrestling with making sense of his life. The last secret to the movie’s success is the unseen photographs and footage. Olivia Harrison, George’s widow, has given Scorcese access to a treasure trove of private stuff and along with new interviews with the people who mattered he has pulled together an intriguing biography.

Be prepared to laugh out loud, to be in awe of Harrison’s talent, to be impressed with his humanity, a little jealous of his friendships, disturbed by the attack on his life, intrigued by his life’s obsession with moment of his death and to cry when that moment, vividly described, comes. As a Beatles’ fan for 35 years and, as I have written many times before, a particular fan of George Harrison, I am delighted that Scorcese didn’t choose the more obvious Lennon or McCartney. In doing so Scorcese, perhaps consciously, rights the wrongs of Harrison not being given his rightful place in The Beatles and, anyway,  they simply wouldn’t have been as interesting. Don’t miss these TV showings and if you can pick up the book or the DVD or the two or even the luxurious box set that sticks them altogether and adds twelve lovely unreleased demos, buy them. Another Scorcese masterpiece!

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