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Restored, expanded Ziggy Motion Picture Coming Back to Theaters

July will mark the 50th anniversary of Bowie’s self-proclaimed final concert, at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, which was captured on film and turned into a concert movie and live album in 1983. The film will be restored, expanded and released in about 1000 theaters across the world (including the Odeon, which is now called the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith) in July. Here is a trailer.

As concert movies go, this one (at least in the form that I’ve seen it) is good but not great. On the plus side is the performance of Bowie, as Ziggy and the Spiders. That’s the main event anyway, so good. On the down side, the video is dark and murky. While I think some fans might like that, like it adds to the atmosphere, after watching years of Bowie videos and film clips I don’t think the Ziggy movie cinematography is the best. Also, while the performance is very good, I have joined those many fans who think the Santa Monica 72 live album is even better. Both capture Bowie in that 1972/73 period where he was peaking as Ziggy but had the vast bulk of his catalogue yet to create. For some, the Bowie of this period is Bowie. His Ziggy voice would not hold up much longer, so this concert and Santa Monica 72 are among the few live recordings of Bowie sounding like this. That said, his later concerts would benefit from a diversity of song options that just were not available yet so early in his career.

Anyway, I’m hoping the restored film makes its way to a drive in near me. I’m still not going to theaters due to COVID. Meanwhile contemplate the idea of Ziggy’s at the half-century mark. Somehow I think he still comes off as a lost edgier than Al Jolson must have seemed in 1973.

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