Monterey Pop (1968)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Monterey Pop</strong> (1968)

(On Cable TV, December 2018) I wasn’t really planning on watching Monterey Pop all the way through. TCM was having a special 8-hour broadcast of movies selected for the 2018 American Film Registry, and it was easier to record the entire block to get all of the short films and commentary than to try to pick the movies I really wanted to see. The idea of a Sixties concert film wasn’t high on my list of essentials, but I let the movie play while I was doing something else … and the music ended up imposing itself. Featuring an A-list of late-1960s performers, Monterey Pop is often hailed as a pivotal concert film, one that captured the energy of the Monterey festival, and led to more concert movies and more concerts as well. Director D. A. Pennebaker’s style does feel surprisingly modern, and yet evokes the Sixties without much of the false overblown nostalgia that creeps into more contemporary looks at the time period. In between The Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and many others, there’s a lot of great music in a single film, and Monterey Pop is likely to keep you listening from beginning to end.

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