The Band’s Legendary Movie ‘The Last Waltz’ Getting New Life in 2021

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)

Here’s a gift idea for the music nerd in your life. The Last Waltz, which follows The Band on its 1976 farewell concert will join The Criterion Collection. The special edition of the iconic Martin Scorsese documentary will include a 4K remaster of the film and a documentary about how it was made.

“More than just one of the greatest concert films ever made, The Last Waltz is an at-once ecstatic and elegiac summation of a vital era in American rock music,” Criterion says about the documentary. “Enlisting seven camera operators … Scorsese created a grandly immersive experience that brings viewers on stage and inside the music itself. That music – as performed by the Band and a host of other generation-defining artists, including Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, the Staple Singers, Muddy Waters, and Neil Young – lives on as an almost religious expression of the transcendent possibilities of rock ‘n’ roll.”

Martin Scorsese was working on his film New York, New York when The Band’s manager called to ask if he’d be interested in filming their final show. Doing so meant he’d have to stop work in his movie.

“I don’t have a choice,” the director said. “I must do it.”

Scorsese believed he needed to be there, but capturing the weight of the moment meant he’d need special equipment.

“Shooting 35mm for this kind of event just wasn’t done,” Martin Scorsese said. “It was too tricky; the sync motors would break, cameras would run out of film. You have to be overlapping [cameras], you have to design the whole thing so that cameras wouldn’t move. The concert turned out to be about seven hours, so it was quite a thing!”

The Criterion Collection compiles and catalogs films and documentaries that have great artistic or cultural importance.

Martin Scorsese Will Make Grateful Dead Movie with Jonah Hill

Deadline reported that Apple tapped director Martin Scorsese to make a biopic about rock legends Grateful Dead. Jonah Hill will star.

There are no plot details available at this time, but there is enough material on the band for several films. Grateful Dead formed in the San Francisco Bay area in the 1960s. They were beloved members of the counterculture scene and created the idea of the rock and roll jam band.

Grateful Dead still tours relentlessly. Everywhere they go, their merry band of Dead Heads tag along at every stop.

Jonah Hill will play the band’s frontman Jerry Garcia, the patron saint of psychedelic rock. Garcia died in 1995 at a drug rehab facility, but the band continued with an ever-changing roster of musicians. The surviving members of the band have signed on work with the production.

There is no release date as of yet.

Scorsese has a history with Grateful Dead. He produced a documentary about the band in 2017. This is his first foray into the popular music biopic genre.