Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Leonard Cohen: "Bird On A Wire"- August 31

Filmmaker Tony Palmer and MVD Visual report that the DVD release of Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen's "Bird On A Wire" 1972 concert film, will be August 31.

"...Originally made in 1972 and directed by celebrated British filmmaker Tony Palmer, 'Bird On A Wire' follows Cohen on his 1972 European tour and contains 17 classic performances, 4 poems and tour footage. After massive re-editing, although not by Palmer, it was released in 1974, had a very limited run and then 'disappeared'. Like many films from the era it was thought that the original version had been lost, but in 2009, 294 rolls of film were discovered containing much of the original rushes and soundtrack of the 1972 film. Palmer was able to restore much of this footage and it is now available on DVD for the first time..."

"When, in 2009, 294 cans of film were discovered in a warehouse in Hollywood, in rusted up cans that sometimes had to be hammered open, and these cans were shipped to me by, of all people, Frank Zappa's manager, I believed at first that nothing could be salvaged," said Palmer.

"The cans did not contain the negative; some of the prints were in black & white; and much of it had been cut to pieces and/or scratched beyond use. But when I finally opened one box and found most of the original sound dubbing tracks, I knew we had a hope of putting the jigsaw back together. So now, taking full advantage of the latest digital technology, this is what we have done, piece by piece, slowly and painstakingly. It has taken months and months, and probably has cost more than the original filming, and although it's by no means perfect, it's very close now to the original."

The deluxe digipak DVD package also includes a limited edition reproduction of the movie's 1972 film poster.

"Now, looking back after 38 years, my admiration for Cohen as a poet, a singer and as a man, remains undiminished," said Palmer. "The original film was made with love, and I hope that quality once again shines through the restored film."

Palmer is noted for rock docs including early works with the "Beatles", "Cream", "Jimi Hendrix" and Frank Zappa, collecting over 40 international prizes for his work.

Tracks on "Bird On A Wire" include "Avalanche", "Suzanne", "Tonight Will Be Fine", "Passing Through", "Sisters of Mercy", "Who By Fire?", "Story of Isaac", "One Of Us Can't Be Wrong", "The Partisan", "Chelsea Hotel", "Nancy", "Famous Blue Raincoat", "Bird On A Wire" and whole lot more.

Click the images to enlarge and Sneak Peek "Bird On A Wire"..