Monday, November 25, 2013

American Masters: Jimi Hendrix


American Masters recently ran a two-hour documentary about the genius guitarist Jimi Hendrix, Hear My Train A Comin'.

The full video can be seen here:

http://video.pbs.org/widget/partnerplayer/2365112662/?allowfullscreen=true

I'm not the perfect audience for this film. I worked on an unauthorized TV movie a while back so I know quite a bit about him. That movie was fatally flawed from conception (unauthorized meant we couldn't use any of his music), but nonetheless I had to learn a lot about his playing to try and make it look like an actor who could not read music, sing, or play the guitar (and who was not left-handed) was Jimi Hendrix. 

This documentary suffers from some of the same problems we had. Hendrix's family is fractured and very litigious. As a result, many aspects of his life are completely ignored in the film, probably for fear of legal action. Virtually nothing about his life prior to the Experience, and surprisingly little about his last few months. Very little mention of drug use. 

I do suppose that for people who knew very little about him that this film is a nice way to get introduced to his life, but for me, there was very little new information. Some of the interviews were a little awkward and may not have deserved the screen time that they got, where other important people seemed left out of the film entirely. 

Nonetheless, I'm sure many people will enjoy this film. 

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