Another film about Bob Dylan by director Martin Scorsese – this time though the filmmaker took a cue from the mysterious rock star to weave a fantastical mix of facts and imagination.
The Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story, will be released on Netflix and in limited movie theaters come June 12. The short film follows one of Dylan’s strangest concert tours – the 1975 United States road trip had the playfulness of an old-time medicine show and a camera crew in tow.
With an electric troupe of performers, the Rolling Thunder tour had folk singers Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and Roger McGuinn, as well as poet Allen Ginsberg and glam rocker Mick Ronson. It played in small venues with little advance notice, despite Dylan’s status at the time as a major star.
“It wasn’t a success, not if you measure success in terms of profit. But it was an adventure,” Dylan says in Scorsese’s film. He shaped some of the documentary footage into the 1978 film “Renaldo and Clara,” mixing it with improvised scenes.
The movie is taken from over 100 hours of footage shot in 1975 and it echoes the same spirit blending commentary from Dylan and Baez. It also has interviews with Sharon Stone and other actors.
“We are not calling it a documentary,” said Margaret Bodde, one of the producers. The new movie shows Dylan performing on songs such as “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” in white face paint with wild-eyed intensity.
“There’s just a certain kind of connection to the audience that he seemed to have on this tour that I think will blow everyone’s minds,” Bodde said. The movie’s fictional elements “really grew out of the spirit of the tour because Bob looks so different on that tour and he’s kind of an actor.”
“The tour itself, not that movie, that’s what we were interested in,” said David Tedeschi, one of the editors on the Scorsese film.