Archive for Robin Williams

Everybody’s Talkin’ About Harry Nilsson

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on September 19, 2010 by 30daysout

(Editor’s Note:  Our L.A. correspondent Randy Fuller covered a screening of the new documentary about Harry Nilsson – here is his report.)

John Scheinfeld’s documentary, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?), is currently getting a week’s screening in Los Angeles (through 9/23), with Portland (9/24 – 9/30) and San Francisco (10/1 – 10/7) to follow.   It’s a gentle and powerful film examining the life of the singer/songwriter through his music and the words of the people who were close to him. Those whose comments tell the story of Harry Nilsson include Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, Jimmy Webb, Mickey Dolenz, Robin Williams, Eric Idle, Al Kooper, Randy Newman and a host of others.

Director Scheinfeld said after the film, in an in-person Q&A at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 theater, that his biggest disappointment about the film is that he could not persuade Ringo Starr to sit for an interview.   Scheinfeld said “There are three people Ringo finds it very difficult to speak about: John Lennon, George Harrison and Harry Nilsson.”

The movie has just been released after a period of at least four years of being tinkered with. The final cut comes in just under two hours long, down from a previous version that clocked in at three hours.  Scheinfeld mentioned that all that lost footage didn’t stay on the cutting room floor.  “A DVD should be out by Christmas,” he said, “and there will be about another 90 minutes of footage – almost another whole movie – as part of the package.”

In the film, Parks and Dolenz have quite a few stories to tell about Nilsson’s legendary spiral into alcoholism and, ultimately, self destruction.  One of Nilsson’s cousins who was close to him also gets a lot of face time and adds a more personal touch to the account.

Comments from Nilsson’s friends about how they never knew how many days they’d be gone when they agreed to get together with him made the crowd laugh, while accounts of ruined relationships with two of his producers – Rick Jarrard and Richard Perry – were sadly touching.

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