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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Music > Rock > Blues > Soul > Country > Canadian TV > Ronnie Hawkins – Still Alive & Kickin’ (Music Documentary)

Ronnie Hawkins – Still Alive & Kickin’ (Music Documentary)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Documentary: B-



Canadian Rock, Soul, Blues and even Country legend Ronnie Hawkins was as big as Elvis in his time, with a backing band that became The Band (as featured in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and even has acting credits including in Michael Cimino’s classic Western Heaven’s Gate in 1980.  Now, having survived cancer, he continues to move forward as an elder legend in Anne Pick’s 2004 documentary Still Alive & Kickin’.


Narrated by Dan Aykroyd, the program attempts to tell the parallel stories of Hawkins career and influence with his battle with cancer.  The stock footage is often the most interesting as the interviews lack pace and clear integration.  Especially with his history, you know there is much more to this than they could possibly fit into the program.  However, it is historical enough and is better than the lack of attention he is receiving.  Maybe it will inspire a more comprehensive anthology of some kind.


We even see him do the dance move that is referred to (accurately or not) as The Moonwalk, but we’ll stop at bashing you know who.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 x 1 image is soft and one of the oddest we have ever seen.  Whether it is old film or video footage, or the newly shot interview and performance footage, it is soft and has strange visual warping that is a major flaw in the editing and transfer.  Oddest of all, there are shots that warp the picture like a funhouse mirror (think the credits of Frankenheimer’s Seconds or Alien Resurrection) that makes no sense and is very, very problematic.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is sometimes compressed and never great, especially a problem with music.  His work deserves better.  20 minutes of extra interview footage is the only extra with the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Robbie Robertson and President Bill Clinton.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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