“George Harrison: Living in the Material World” focuses the imaginative and inspired eye of one of cinema’s most pre-eminent filmmakers on one of the world’s most influential men. The film takes viewers on the musical and spiritual voyage that was George Harrison’s life, much of it told in his own words. The result is deeply moving and touches each viewer in unique and individual ways.
Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese traces Harrison’s life from his musical beginnings in Liverpool through his life as a musician, a seeker, a philanthropist, and filmmaker. Scorsese weaves together interviews with Harrison and his closest friends, performances, home movies, and photographs. Much of the material in the film has never been seen (or heard) before. The result is a rare glimpse into the mind and soul of one of the most talented artists of his generation and a profoundly intimate and affecting work of cinema.
The film includes interviews with Eric Clapton, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, George Martin, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Tom Petty, Phil Spector, Ringo Starr and Jackie Stewart. They speak honestly and frankly about George’s many talents and contradictions.
The film was produced by Scorsese, Olivia Harrison and Nigel Sinclair. Margaret Bodde served as the film’s executive producer and the film was edited by David Tedeschi (who previously worked with Scorsese, Bodde and Sinclair on the Grammy Award-winning “No Direction Home: Bob Dylan” and with Scorsese and Bodde on the Rolling Stone concert film “Shine A Light”).
Scorsese comments, “Like so many millions of people, I first came to know George through the music, which was the soundtrack of our world. The Beatles’ music, those beautifully lyrical guitar breaks and solos, those unforgettable songs of George’s, like “I Me Mine” or “If I Needed Someone,” and the images, in magazines, on album covers, the TV appearances, the newsreel footage, the Richard Lester movies; and then there was the world after the Beatles, when George and his music seemed to open up and flower. I will never forget the first time I heard All Things Must Pass, the overwhelming feeling of taking in all that glorious music for the first time. It was like walking into a cathedral. George was making spiritually awake music – we all heard and felt it – and I think that was the reason that he came to occupy a very special place in our lives. So when I was offered the chance to make this picture, I jumped at it. Spending time with Olivia, interviewing so many of George’s closest friends, reviewing all that footage, some of it never seen before, and listening to all of that magnificent music – it was a joy, and an experience I’ll always treasure.”
Olivia Harrison notes, “Martin Scorsese’s intuition towards George was evident the first time we met to discuss this project. He sensed what George was about: his music, his strong beliefs, his art, his place in the Beatles story, and his extraordinary life afterwards. Marty’s wonderful film has found all of that and more.”
“This film was an extraordinary journey for all involved and it has been a sheer pleasure working with Martin Scorsese and Olivia Harrison to bring the amazing story and legacy of George Harrison to life,” adds Sinclair.
“George Harrison: Living in the Material World” will be released in the UK on 10th October in three editions – DVD, Blu-ray and DVD Double play (DVD/ BD combi pack), and a beautifully packaged DVD / Blu-Ray Deluxe Edition, which includes an exclusive CD of previously unheard tracks from George Harrison, and a book of photography to accompany the film.
In the United States HBO has acquired the TV broadcast rights to Scorsese’s film, which will debut in two parts — on October 5 and October 6, 2011.
In late September, Abrams Books will publish Olivia Harrison’s “George Harrison: Living in the Material World“, a personal archive of photographs, letters, diaries, and memorabilia from George’s life that reveals the arc of his life, from his guitar-obsessed boyhood in Liverpool, to the astonishment of the Beatles years, to his days as an independent musician and bohemian squire. The book release is intended to coincide with the release of Scorsese’s film.