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 by Chris Cooper

Itís a strange path that brings me to this really.

In my pursuit of videos digital I have spent much time wresting with Renaldo and Clara recently. This has basically involved a lot of close study time, more than I have given the film before. I have been surprised to find myself feeling more and more at home with this video, and as I have watched in a more at ease manner I found the film making more and more sense to me. I started to see links that I had not noticed before. Now, please forgive me if what follows does not make you feel any differently about this marathon effort. What to my jaundiced eye seems interesting and new is probably old hat to you seasoned veterans.

There has been Freewheeler  interest in this before when Patrick Webster produced a scene by scene breakdown. I hereby acknowledge that and shamelessly confess that I have used his format on which to build my own assessment of the masterpiece. Yes thatís what I see this as. 

Now you cannot review a 4 hour film in 3 pages so I will borrow from another of our group and spread this piece over a few issues. Mine will not be endlessly rambling or breathlessly exhaustive either, so hopefully we will all arrive at the finish together. Now where to begin? 

How about at the start. Is Renaldo and Clara a ďroad movieĒ like Donít Look Back or Eat The Document? Hardly, both Dylanís previous films had been produced by other minds, specifically D. A. Pennebaker, but Renaldo and Clara (R&C), is much more than that. We have all those scenes, in fact there is more time dedicated to movie scenes than tour footage. I can hear you saying that  there is more incidental footage in Eat the Document than concert footage also. But, obviously Dylan had many other things in mind than simply following D. A. Pennebakerís path. In Eat the Document the non-concert footage is simply that, scenes of Dylan and the entourage as they traveled around Europe.  In R&C the scenes become not simply links with the concert footage, but often foot notes too the material, and I believe in many cases to Dylanís own feelings on what the songs are about. As well as fascinating glimpses into his psyche, and looks at many of the usual questions that had haunted him for the past 15 years. 

In the next part of this marathon we will look at some influences on the film make up. As well  as beginning a scene by scene breakdown of the film. For this part, I thought we would concentrate on the people in the play. 

The ďCastĒ of Renaldo & Clara is a combination of the people on the tour, and the people the touring group met. At times some are  Ďactingí and at times they are themselves. On a few occasions there is crossover in a scene. More on that later! But letís see who the main characters are(1):

Cast:

Bob DYLAN............................................................
Sara DYLAN...........................................................
Joan BAEZ
.............................................................
Ronnie HAWKINS
...................................................
Ronee BLAKLEY
....................................................
Jack ELLIOTT
.........................................................
Harry Dean STANTON
.............................................
Bob NEUWIRTH
.....................................................
Mel HOWARD
........................................................
Allen GINSBERG
....................................................
David MANSFIELD
..................................................
Jack BARAN
..........................................................
Helena KALLIANIOTES
............................................
Rubin "Hurricane" CARTER
......................................
Scarlet RIVERA
......................................................
Mama Maria FRASCA
.............................................
MAD BEAR
............................................................
Roger McGUINN
.....................................................
David BLUE
............................................................
Joni MITCHELL
.......................................................
Rob STONER
.........................................................
Ruth TYRANGIEL
....................................................
Steven SOLES
........................................................
Mick RONSON
.......................................................
Anne WALDMAN
....................................................
Denise MERCEDES
................................................
Linda THOMASES
..................................................
T-Bone BURNETT
...................................................
Sheila SHOTTON
....................................................
Kevin CROSSLEY
...................................................
Larry SLOMAN
.......................................................
Hal FRAZIER
..........................................................
M. WILL
.................................................................
Sam SHEPARD
......................................................
Howie WYETH
........................................................
Luther RIX
...............................................................
Andre Bernard TREMBLAY
......................................
Dominic PAULO
......................................................
Arlo GUTHRIE
.........................................................
Roberta FLACK
.......................................................
Claudia CARR
........................................................
  Renaldo
Clara
the woman in white
Bob Dylan
Mrs Dylan
Longheno de Castro
Lafkezio
the Masked Tortilla
Ungatz
the father
the son
the truckdriver
herself
himself
himself
herself

himself
himself
himself
herself
himself
girl friend
Ramon
security guard
sister of mercy
sister of mercy
sister of mercy
the inner voice
CBC lady
piano player
newspaper man
singer
MC
Rodeo
the drummer
the drummer
Maurice
the realist
mandolin player
guest artist
dancer 

Credits:  

Bob DYLAN...........................................
Mel HOWARD
........................................
Jack BARAN
..........................................
AHERN. Michael
....................................
Herb ROBINSON
....................................
Greg RAMSAY
.......................................
Jacques LEVY
.......................................
Bob DYLAN
...........................................
Sam SHEPARD
.....................................
David MYER
S........................................
Paul GOLDSMITH
..................................
Howard ALK
...........................................
Michael LEVINE
.....................................
Patrick CULLIE
......................................
Paul CLEMENTS
....................................
Bob SEE
...............................................
Kirk WILLIAMSON
..................................
Osvaldo ZORNIZER
................................
Bob DYLAN
...........................................
Howard ALK
..........................................
Ronee BLAKLEY
...................................
Jack ELLIOTT
........................................
Bob NEUWIRTH
.....................................
Mick RONSON
.......................................
Roger McGUINN
.....................................
Rob STONER
.........................................
David MANSFIELD
.................................
T-Bone BURNETT
..................................
Scarlet RIVERA
.....................................
Howie WYETH
.......................................
Luther RIX
..............................................
Linda THOMASES
..................................
Steve GAGNE
........................................
Greg MALLOZI
.......................................
Arthur ROSATO
.....................................
Bruce NYZNIK
.......................................
Peter THILLAYE
.....................................
Gary BOURGEOIS
.................................
L.
A. JOHNSON.....................................
Petur HLIDDAL
.......................................
Arthur PIANTADOSI
................................
Les FRESHOLTZ
....................................
Michael MINKLER
..................................
  Director
Associate Producer
Production Manager
Production Manager
Production Manager
Production Assistant
Associate Director
Scriptwriter
Dialogue
Photography
Photography
Photography
Additional Photography
Lighting
Lighting
Lighting
Lighting
Stills Photography
Editor
Editor
Music Performer on Soundtrack
Music Performer on Soundtrack
Music Performer on Soundtrack
Music Performer on Soundtrack
Music Performer on Soundtrack
Music Performer on Soundtrack
Music Performer on Soundtrack
Music Performer on Soundtrack
Music Performer on Soundtrack
Music Performer on Soundtrack
Music Performer on Soundtrack
Costumes
and Titles
Sound
Sound
Sound
Sound Editor
Sound Editor
Sound Recording
Sound Recording
Sound Recording
Sound Re-recording
Sound Re-recording
Sound Re-recording

Wow

Quite a list? Curiously the same source tells me that the running time was: 245 Film Length: 21140 ft or 6447 mtrs. Colour System: Metrocolor Sound System.  Personally I have never seen a version of this film that actually runs over 4 hours. Itís usually about 10 minutes short of the four  hours in fact. 

The film was Released in 1977 and the Production Company: Lombard Street Films Country in the USA

About the film they said it was: 

 ÖĒA record of a tour in 1975/6 by Bob Dylan and various folk and rock musicians, including Joan Baez, Ronee Blakley, Ronnie Hawkins and Jack Elliott, of the Eastern seaboard of the United States with the Rolling Thunder Revue and of the causes it was intended to support i.e. the plight of the Tuscarora  Indians and the case of the wrongly-imprisoned boxer, 'Hurricane' Carter. This is intercut with semi-improvised scenes in which Dylan, his wife Sara and a number of musicians  act out tableaux connected with the lyrics of the songs, Dylan's own life and experiences associated with being 'on the road' and the rock movement of the sixties and seventies.Ē 

Which is a pretty workable summary so letís go with that for now. Though I am unaware of anything actually being from 1976? 

The players in this film came mostly from Dylanís immediate circle. Many have remained in that circle and some have not. Dylanís own involvement in film making took a long rest after this effort. So I thought we would start by looking closer at as many of the characters in the film as we can. To see how they are doing now, and what their relationship was to Dylan then and is to Dylan now. 

But time marches ever on, so.  My friends

We consider those relationships, next time.

Till Next Time

(1) Film News.v10.n1/2.Jan/Feb 1980 p.14-15.

 
 
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