The Last Raga? Martin Scorcese planning to release George Harrison biopic

This news is a few weeks old, but it is the first I’ve heard of it.  Martin Scorcese has wrapped filming on a George Harrison documentary titled Living in the Material World. The film could be released by the end of 2011.

Scorsese is fascinated by rock ‘n’ roll musicians, and has chronicled some of the most iconic artists of the 20th century, including the Band (“The Last Waltz”), the Rolling Stones (“Shine a Light”), Bob Dylan (“No Direction Home: Bob Dylan”) and, now, George Harrison.

Scorsese said the former Beatles’ life was a remarkable musical and spiritual voyage. He and Olivia Harrison both said George Harrison was always trying to find the balance between the physical and the spiritual, hence the film’s title.

This is exciting for me on a number of levels.  Few people outside of George’s circle of friends and family truly knew the man.  His life during and after The Beatles is probably the least documented of any of the solo Beatles, so this will be an interesting portrait, drawn by those who were close to him.  Second, it’s Martin Scorcese.  His film The Last Waltz documenting The Band’s final concert is one of the greatest films in rock history.  I don’t even listen to The Band and I think that concert is terrific.  And is talent for biopics was never more evident in his PBS documentary of the life of Bob Dylan, No Direction Home.  I trust that the project is in the best of hands.

Harrison said she spent countless hours pouring through her husband’s notes, cassette tapes and photos. Many of those materials have never been made public before.

Film also uses never-before-seen footage in tracing the guitarist and songwriter’s life, from his days with the Beatles until his death in 2001. It includes interviews with those closest to him, including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Eric Idle, Tom Petty, Yoko Ono and Phil Spector.

Harrison wrote and released songs until his death. One note his widow found: “Goats on a roof.”

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