Living in the Material World, Scorsese’s moving tribute to George Harrison 

click to enlarge He’s got his mind set on you: George Harrison in Scorsese doc Living in the Material World.
  • He’s got his mind set on you: George Harrison in Scorsese doc Living in the Material World.

When you tick off George Harrison’s achievements, those successes seem impressive enough: the Beatles’ brilliant lead guitarist; the writer of classic songs like “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun”; the creator of the big rock charity concert concept; the man who popularized Eastern music in the West and brought spirituality to pop. And yet Harrison was overshadowed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney during the Beatles’ 1960s heyday, and has been ever since. That makes him a ripe subject for a two-part documentary treatment by Martin Scorsese, who reveals all sorts of things we didn’t know about one of the 20th century’s most famous people.

We learn of Harrison’s emotional extremes; that he overindulged in drugs even as he sought enlightenment; and that he had a weakness for women, even during his long, happy second marriage. He also embodied Beatles virtues to the end by working through his confusing experiences and tried to makes sense of them, striving to evolve as an artist and a person, and maintaining a childlike sense of the absurd in even the most solemn situations. Ringo Starr recalls that George’s last words to him, uttered just before dying of cancer, were a characteristically dry joke. Ringo both laughs and cries as he recalls the scene. I predict you will, too.

 

★★★★

Living in the Material World

Dir. Martin Scorsese (94 min)
HBO
Part 1: 11pm Wed, Oct 5, and 8:30pm Thu, Oct 6
Part 2: 11pm Thu, Oct 6

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