DVD: George Harrison: Living in the Material World (12)

Ben Walsh
Friday 07 October 2011 00:00
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A host of celebrated Sixties shakers – Eric Clapton, a bug-eyed Phil Spector, Pattie (inspiration for "Layla") Boyd – discuss the Beatles guitarist, but it takes a Beatle to know a Beatle, and Paul McCartney's observations are by far the most illuminating.

He points out that the notoriously calm George was just like any "red-blooded" man (he was prone to infidelity) and touches upon the squabbles they had, pointing out a fall-out over Macca's "Hey Jude". But there's clearly a lot of affection, too. It seems everyone loved the "Quiet One"; and he was clearly a decent, cerebral, hugely spiritual fellow. Does it make for a fascinating three-and-a-half hours? Well, if you're a big Beatles fan (I am), then it's never going to lack interest – the black-and-white shots of the band, dressed in leather and drenched in sweat, in Hamburg are engrossing. However, this simply doesn't have what Scorsese's epic No Direction Home: Bob Dylan had. It's not thrilling because, simply, Harrison was not the thrilling type. He looked inwards, chanted mantras, spent his life trying to forgive and give. And towards the end of the 1960s and early 1970s he gave the world beautiful pop – "Something", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Here Comes the Sun", and later gave us, as a film producer, the likes of Withnail and I and Life of Brian. No one has a bad word to say about him, essentially. A good egg, but no Lennon...

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