“It will be a good joke on us all if, in fifty years or so, Dylan is regarded as a significant figure in English poetry. Not Mr. Thomas, the late Welsh bard, but Bob, the guitar-picking American balladeer. One step toward the latter's canonization has been taken, in fact, in a full-length documentary, ‘Don't Look Back.’”
So begins a 1967 review by The New York Times’ Donal J. Henahan, whose arm’s-length assessment of the then just-released film about a “prickly, wary” Bob Dylan’s concert tour of Britain, includes words such as “absorbing” and “occasionally disturbing.” Dylan, then so fresh and youthfully brash, proves to be an calculating and elusive subject.
Henahan concludes: "... One does go away with a few solid hints as to what Mr. Dylan is up to, desperately though he resists anything like a friendly embrace. At the end, after a wildly successful concert at London's Royal Albert Hall, we see the poet-balladeer and friends chuckling over the 'anarchist' tag hung on him by British newspapers. Mr. Dylan seems delighted to have put on the meretricious press, and fades out, happily sad in the eternal youth's realization that nobody understands him."
Now 47 years later, the Norton Museum of Art (1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach) will use the D.A. Pennebaker-directed “Don’t Look Back” to open its “Cinema of the ‘60s” film-and-discussion series, hosted by film scholar and author Scott Eyman.
The 6:30 p.m. screening is part of the weekly Art After Dark parties at the Norton, currently showing “To Jane, Love Andy: Warhol’s First Superstar,” an exhibit of paintings, sculpture, prints and films illustrating the unique relationship between Andy Warhol and his friend, the glamorous 1960s cult figure Baby Jane Holzer.
Other films scheduled in the “Cinema of the ‘60s” series include John Cassavetes’ “Faces” on March 27, Shirley Clarke’s “Portrait of Jason” on April 3 and a collection of Warhol movies on April 17.
Art After Dark is 5-9 p.m. and includes museum tours and music from a jazz-pop-soul trio led by Chloe Dolandis. Admission ($12, students $5) is half-price all day on Thursdays (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.), free for members and visitors 12 and younger. Call 561-832-5196, or go to Norton.org.