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What Was PBS Afraid Of?

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 7, 2005

Regular readers of this blog may recall my description of a screening of ''Bob Dylan: No Direction Home,'' Martin Scorsese's documentary about Dylan's early years. If not, you can find it in the posting ''Some Direction.'' (I tried to create a direct link but can't get it to work.)

That was in early July; at the time, PBS said it would not make review copies available ahead of time, supposedly because of fear of piracy. It also made critics watch the film in a group screening at a Hollywood studio.

Well, in today's mail, a copy of the show arrived. It wasn't a PBS screener. It was the DVD release, which hits stores on Sept. 20, before the national TV premiere on Sept. 26-27.

I've already started sampling the extras -- including several bonus musical performances -- to the dismay of the people around me. Not a lot of Dylan love in this room.

I'm still happy that I spent 3 1/2 hours at that screening, because I loved the film. And I'm curious whether I will love it as much when I watch it under more relaxed conditions. But the security surrounding that screening sure seems silly now.

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