GEORGE HARRISON - UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

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George Harrison up Close and Personal Cover Two years younger than John and Ringo, and only one year younger than Paul, George Harrison was the ‘baby Beatle’. However, did this slight age gap in any way effect George’s musical path towards spirituality? Hmmm? Yes and no. Want to know more, then why don’t you watch this 48 minute documentary made in 2004. (Did that rhyme?)


George Harrison up Close and Personal


THE STORY:
This poignant documentary touches upon certain aspects of the life and times of one time Beatle, George Harrison.

Now to help populate this humble program, numerous interviews have been recorded to focus this presentation, and allow for tales of Georges journey to be illustrated within a structured narrative. An old childhood friend talks about Georges school days – musical piers talk about Georges development as a musician – and spiritual cohorts recount the ways in which George’s music has spurned them towards a different way of life. Plus, in addition to this, archival footage succinctly break up these interview segments, and presents a more direct picture of who George was, and what he was all about.

Of course, the people associated with George the most, are names such as Ravi Shankar - Paul McCartney - George Martin - and many, many more. Please, allow me to elaborate:

The Early Years: Although George was the youngest member of the Beatles, this did not really hinder him personally within the group’s dynamics. Instead, it slightly delayed his progression as a solo musician, due to him becoming overshadowed by both John and Paul’s musical partnership. Still, eventually, George lent something to this group – a missing musical ingredient – thus balancing them all out as individuals, as well as gelling them all performance wise.

His Family Life: George married Pattie Boyd not so long after he met her on the film set of ‘A Hard Days Night’. Regrettably, though, this fledgling marriage quickly disintegrated, and she went on to marry Eric Clapton a year or so later. Nevertheless, George did eventually find a loving partner in Olivia, and he had a son with her called Dhani too. 

His Spiritual Journey: George’s spiritual journey started evolving at a early age. He found many spiritual paths while he was with the Beatles – most notably with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Moreover, when this did not work out for him, George found his true calling in the word of Hari Krishna, as well as other numerous spiritual causes that he allied himself with. 

The Dark Horse: The final years of Georges life was a somewhat bi-polar time for him. On the one hand, he defended the Beatles reputation in court, he donated money to many charitable causes, and on top of that, he established Hand Made films – a company that financed ‘Monty Python and the Life of Brian’. Whilst, on the other hand, he was almost killed in his home by an act of a mad man, Michael Abram. Fortunately, George was able to heal himself from the injuries sustained to him by this savage assault – unfortunately, he died a couple of years later from lung cancer. 

George Harrison, you will be missed buddy.



THE REVIEW:
One of my all time favorite songs was written by George Harrison – 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' – so I am afraid to say that I will most probably be somewhat sentimental whilst writing my review about this documentary. The man was just a genius of our time, lending all of his energy, one way or another, towards a noble cause – love, life, and the pursuit of happiness.

However, did 'George Harrison - Up Close And Personal' dissuade me in my blatantly bias opinion? No – not at all. If anything, it made me want to know more about this man, because it presented George in a good light – partly due to the fact that it was recorded just after he died. Fair dues, this factor must have tinged the overall presentation subliminally, but in so doing, it has also managed to focus it more succinctly about George himself– rather than just about ‘his time with the Beatles’.


George Harrison


OK, I am sure that this can be perceived as a ‘bad thing’ by some Beatles fans, but to others, I am just sure that this melancholy tone enhances this film in places. You see, there is a lot of stuff on show about Georges time with the Beatles – but this is nothing new, just rehashed clips which any avid Beatles follower must have seen a thousand times before. What is more interesting though, is the ‘other stuff’ about George – the little tit bits about his personal and spiritual journey.

For me, I wished that there were more of this ‘other stuff’ – as it really did lend itself in highlighting George’s solo attributes. And another thing that also did this as well, was the interview involving Georges school friend – thus shedding some light on his early years.


George Harrison as Jesus


But, to juxtapose the positive, there were a couple of bad points too. The first one being the lack of insight into Georges marriage with Olivia – and the second one being that some of the interview segments (even though I did like some of them) where kind of maudlin and fleeting in nature.

Well, they appeared to act as if they were personal rambles, thus allowing old acquaintances to ‘tell a story’... and sometimes not a very interesting one at that. Still, if this documentary has taught me anything, it is that I should take people for what they are, and not for what I want them to be.

Bless You George – although this documentary only was a minor elaboration on your mythos, for that alone I am happy to watch it. Nice program – fleeting in nature – spiritual in context – and presents a great man in a good light.




THE RATING: B