I’ve always been waiting for an official release of Eat The Document. Now you can consider it as released. It’s more than a bootleg – here you can watch the film in a stunning quality: Very, very good picture quality and sound. … Highlights of Eat The Document for me are the episode with Johnny Cash and the on stage performances – especially “Ballad Of A Thin Man”. This edition is a must have!
–> Review from DVDylan.com
Eat the Document is a documentary of Bob Dylan’s 1966 tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland with the Hawks. It was shot under Dylan’s direction by D. A. Pennebaker, whose groundbreaking documentary Dont Look Back chronicled Dylan’s 1965 British tour. The film was originally commissioned for the ABC television series ABC Stage 67.
Though shooting had completed for the film, Dylan’s July 1966 motorcycle accident delayed the editing process. Once well enough to work again, Dylan edited the film himself. ABC rejected the film as incomprehensible for a mainstream audience.
It has never been released on home video and prints are rarely screened in theaters.
This is as good a quality as I’ve ever seen Eat The Document, and it is the 52min. version (there are several versions on YouTube around 45 minutes)
Eat The Document (1972):
This version of Eat the Document include a scene featuring a possibly alcohol– or drug-impaired Dylan in a limousine with John Lennon on 27 May 1966. As Dylan shows signs of fatigue, Lennon urges him to get a grip on himself: “Do you suffer from sore eyes, groovy forehead, or curly hair? Take Zimdawn!…Come, come, boy, it’s only a film. Pull yourself together.”
Lennon would later recall in an interview with Rolling Stone that he and Dylan were “both in shades, and both on f***ing junk, and all these freaks around us… I was nervous as shit. I was on his territory, that’s why I was so nervous.”
“It’s a fabulous mess, but so were the 1960s, wouldn’t you say? And I think that’s the very reason this film deserves credit for breaking new ground with Avant-garde Cinema Verité approach, not giving a damn about ‘continuity’ or editing cohesion. As the Sixties seem further and further away, it’s a good reminder that they can’t and won’t happen again, not in the same way. The Counter Culture explosion is gone. It has been marketed to H&M, American Apparel and Urban Outfitters. In earnest, a musician offers to trade his coat for a young blonde woman, with swagger and a 16mm crew behind him. All of these Lads look fabulous in their tweeds and legitimate Carnaby Street fashion — the Hawks AKA the Band no exception — their churlish boyish love of drugs, cigarettes, joints, and desire for chicks with Sassoon haircuts — you can imagine all that could not be filmed, and of course, therein is the magic of the Sixties sub-culture explosion. Sing it, Bob.”
– Whirrl, user review (IMDB)
“A necessary corrective to the mean iciness of Don’t Look Back, in which Dylan comes off pretty badly, a sneering know-it-all taunting reporters and f***ing with his fans…Ultimately an essential window into the psyche of a famously inexplicable artist, additionally useful as a portrait of an increasingly capricious youth culture on the edge of even greater upheaval.”
– Jesse Cataldo (Letterbxd)