Dylan, Bob - Bob Dylan - 1941-1966 Tales From A Golden Age (Special Edition)
This is the first Dylan documentary in the series produced by UK-based Chrome Dreams. This one is far less necessary than the rest of the series. If you have watched "No Direction Home," then it really adds nothing much to what you know. Indeed, it suffers mightily in comparison to remainder of the series, which I have reviewed elsewhere.
Although released in 2004, it was obviously filmed at least somewhat earlier. The film appears to be standard definition video. Unlike the others in the series, this film also suffers from lack of access to Dylan's music. The film is interlaced with music that evokes Dylan, but which is a poor substitute. The producers seemed to have had no access to the album cuts of the songs. Additionally, simply by the nature of the time period covered, they seems to have had little access to any original, alternative, performances either.
This documentary features extensive involvement by Clinton Heylin. Mr. Heylin is, himself, a very controversial figure among Dylan critics. That said, I appreciate Mr. Heylin's own critical contributions, generally, and find his lack of slavish worship of Dylan refreshing. However, this film covers the period before the "Crash," and the title gives away the fact that the interviewees consider the period Dylan's "Golden Age." Any negative criticism is very muted and essentially consists of: "This album was great, but not as great as the one that came after."
It is important to understand that this documentary, like the rest in the series, attempts to cover the process of the making of Dylan's music, the critical response to it at the time of its release, and a reassessment of it with the passage of time. In that respect, I would have to say that it fails. The film covers a period that is well documented in print and on film and really offers nothing to anyone but the most casual of Dylan fans. I would have to say that it is unnecessary, except as the first segment in the rest of the series. Unlike the subsequent entries in the series, which I do recommend highly, this film offers little in the way of fascinating insights into the albums and songs.