Dont Look Back – Bob Dylan
Dont Look Back is a 1967 documentary film by D.A. Pennebaker that principally covers Bob Dylan’s 1965 concert tour of the United Kingdom.
In 1998, Dont Look Back was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Bob Dylan holds a cue card in the music video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues”.The film features Joan Baez, Donovan and Alan Price (who had just left The Animals), Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman and his road manager Bob Neuwirth; Marianne Faithfull, John Mayall, Ginger Baker, and Allen Ginsberg may also be glimpsed in the background. The film shows a young Dylan: confident if not arrogant, confrontational and contrary, but also charismatic and charming.
The opening scene of Don’t Look Back also served as a kind of music video for Dylan’s song “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, in which the singer displays and discards a series of cue cards bearing selected words and phrases from the lyrics (including intentional misspellings and puns). Allen Ginsberg makes a cameo appearance during this episode.
The original title of this film is Dont Look Back (i.e., without an apostrophe in the first word). D.A. Pennebaker, the film’s writer (and director) decided to punctuate the title this way because he “was trying to simplify the language”. Many sources, however, assumed this to be a typographical error and swiftly “corrected” the title to Don’t Look Back (i.e., with an apostrophe in the first word).
Dont Look Back first shown publicly May 17, 1967, at the Presidio Theater in San Francisco, and opened that September at the 34th Street East Theater in New York.
Dont Look Back has been available on DVD for several years. It was digitally-remastered and re-released on DVD February 27, 2007. The Dont Look Back two-disc edition contained the remastered film, five additional audio tracks, commentary by filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker and Tour Road Manager Bob Neuwirth, an alternate version on the video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, the original companion book edited by D.A. Pennebaker to coincide with the film’s release in 1968, a flip-book for a section of the “Subterranean Homesick Blues” video, and a brand new documentary by D.A. Pennebaker and edited by Walker Lamond called 65 Revisited. The Dont Look Back DVD packaging was also given new artwork.