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Part junior travelogue, part rockumentary, World Tour 1966: The Home Movies captures a small portion of life on the road during Bob Dylan’s historic world tour. Unfortunately, as seen through the eyes of Mickey Jones, Dylan’s drummer on the tour, there’s very little of significance to be had here.

The Band on the Run

Documentary on Bob Dylan lacks significance
Documentary on Bob Dylan lacks significance

In 1966, Dylan, a folk artist regarded by many at the time as a “protest singer,” embarked on a world tour and gave his fans something they didn’t expect and, at the time, didn’t want. He went electric during the second set.

At one point, Dylan was called “Judas” for betraying his fans and his touring band, The Hawks, were so quickly dismissed, all the press simply referred to them as “the band,” a name given in derision which actually wound up sticking.

Set amidst an inadvertently ground-breaking tour, it’s disappointing that much of what Jones shares is standard issue travel footage of a world tour as seen through airplane, train, and car windows. And, while the DVD is quick to promote its inclusion of tour footage of The Beatles, Chuck Berry, and Johnny Rivers, the moments are fleeting and, don’t forget, Jones’ 8 millimeter film footage is silent.

Ballad of a Thin Film

This is Jones’ project and as such, it lacks a certain sense of legitimacy without Dylan’s involvement. After all, at one point at least, Jones was Dylan’s favorite drummer in the whole world. As it stands, even the home movie footage rarely shows Dylan himself.

The Home Movies play like a simple attempt at cashing in on a sense of nostalgia. That’s something The Beatles have been able to pull off quite successfully over the past several years, from The Anthology to Let It Be… Naked, but those projects at least had the backing and support of Paul, George, and Ringo.

At its best, the home movies do evoke a special time gone by, but at its worst, it behaves more as a video résumé of Jones’ work, from pre-Dylan to more recent acting efforts on Home Improvement and, according to Jones, TV’s most-aired commercial of all time, one for Breath Savers.

What could be interpreted as an admission of the home movies’ lack of substance comes at the end of the documentary, when Jones himself makes a request for Bob to release Eat the Document, a documentary made as a contemporary TV special covering the world tour.

Dylan’s most dedicated navel-gazers might find something to embrace here, everybody else should wait for Eat the Document.

DVD Extras

There’s not much to talk about in terms of supplemental features. There are three photo galleries, a collection of photos by Barry Feinstein, a collection of photos by Mark Makin, and a compilation of Mickey’s photo collection. The galleries are assembled in a poor man’s DVD fashion, simply playing through the photos without allowing viewers to pause or advance and reverse as desired. Some of the photos are nice, but there’s nothing particularly outstanding.

Picture and Sound

Mickey’s Super 8 films transfer to video slightly more successfully than might be expected, but it depends on the content. Some of the film is dark and out of focus, other parts are serviceable.

As for the soundtrack, the documentary cheaps out with an almost non-stop play list by Highway 61 Revisited, a Bob Dylan tribute band fronted by none other than this documentary’s co-director, Joel Gilbert. Instead of providing atmosphere, though, some of the tracks can become intrusive and distracting.