Leonard Cohen’s 1972 Concert Tour

Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire (1972)“If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”  –  Leonard Cohen

Missing in action since it was first filmed by Tony Palmer in 1972, Bird on a Wire, a documentary account of Leonard Cohen’s European tour, finally surfaced on DVD in 2010 after being painstakenly restored frame by frame by the director who described the long, complicated history on the extra audio features. It’s a shame the film didn’t garner more attention upon its DVD debut but for Cohen fans, the documentary is essential viewing and just as candid, raw and intimate as D.A. Pennebaker’s remarkable Bob Dylan portrait, Don’t Look Back (1967), which covered that singer/songwriter’s tour of England in 1965.   Continue reading

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A Western for Adults

The Hanging TreeUnderrated at the time of its release, The Hanging Tree (1959) is now considered a superior western from the waning years of that popular genre which coincided with the end of the studio era. It is also considered one of Gary Cooper’s best performances from his final decade in film, comparable to his fine work in High Noon (1952) and Man of the West (1958), and a late period achievement for director Delmer Daves (Broken Arrow, 3:10 to Yuma). I was encountered the film at a Saturday matinee in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania when I was seven years old and remember being disturbed by it. This is an adult western. It is not a film for children.  Continue reading