DVD review: George Harrison: Living in the Material World

Martin Scorsese profiles the Beatle in this comprehensive rock doc

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

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4 stars

George Harrison was the “quiet” Beatle. Posthumously, and very poignantly, he finds his voice in director Martin Scorsese’s painstakingly assembled cinematic love letter.

The surviving Beatles, Harrison’s two wives and countless friends form a respectful queue in paying tribute to Harrison. It’s not, though, a symphony of sycophancy. Their memories – spliced together with interviews and evocative home-movie footage of Harrison – are preserved, it seems, by the deep affection they felt for him. And they help build the case that his talent was never truly acknowledged while he was alive.

There are personal revelations too. Wife Olivia, for instance, hints at his promiscuity. “He did like women,” she declares. But it’s the uplifting music that provides the joyous stitching in this immaculately crafted tapestry, whether it’s the opening drum line to Something or the jaunty acoustic intro to Here Comes the Sun.

This is Scorsese’s gift to the memory of Harrison, a man he clearly considers a genius. Like all such works of heart, it is prone to the occasional spasm of indulgence. It’s long, too – nudging three-and-a-half hours. But its release ten years after Harrison’s death is timely and fitting. The quiet Beatle is silent no longer.

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Formats: DVD, Blu-ray and Deluxe Blu-ray editions
Extras: DVD includes interviews with Paul McCartney and Jeff Lyne, with more on the Blu-ray. The Deluxe edition also includes a ten-track CD, plus additional featurettes and interviews