65 Revisited is just one of several signs that Bob Dylan is having a renaissance. This brief, interesting look back at Don’t Look Back, the American musician’s landmark tour through Great Britain, has opened following Todd Haynes’ odd Dylan biopic, I’m Not There, and concurrently with the cable TV airing of No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese’s 2005 Dylan doc, and the iTunes debut of the original Don’t Look Back film.
D.A. Pennebaker, who directed Don’t Look Back, cobbled together 65 Revisited from extensive outtakes from his 1965 black-and-white production. This time, Pennebaker emphasizes the music over the man, reincorporating several songs he had cut, including “Ramona,” “Baby Blue,” “Hattie Carol,” and a great duet with Joan Baez, “Laddie.”
Now that Dylan’s musical style no longer seems as original or striking, it is easier to appreciate the craft behind the songs and not get overly distracted by Dylan’s unusual vocal qualities. For Dylan fans, 65 Revisited will be a treat; for others, it gives a positive glimpse into the world of the folksinging wunderkind.
What is missing this time is the anger and bitterness of the anti-war sentiment, despite the fact that such emotions would be entirely relevant today. Detaching Dylan from the Vietnam War context is 65 Revisionism and not very wise.
But 65 Revisited makes an entertaining supplement to the original film, even if it would be the more appropriate choice for the iTunes venture.