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New Eagles Documentary Set for Sundance Premiere

The Eagles
Charley Gallay, Getty Images

The warm smell of colitas will be rising up through the air at this year’s Sundance festival, thanks to the scheduled premiere of the new two-hour documentary ‘History of the Eagles, Part One.’

Part of an ambitious (and surprisingly comprehensive) look at the bestselling band, ‘Part One’ was assembled by a talented crew whose names will be familiar to film buffs, including director Alison Ellwood (‘Magic Trip’) and producer Alex Gibney (‘Taxi to the Dark Side’). And the impetus behind it all is someone whose record business machinations have affected listeners of all ages: Longtime Eagles manager Irving Azoff, who reportedly dreamed the whole thing up during the band’s 40th anniversary.

Billboard reports that it took two years to assemble the films, which Gibney refers to as “a classic rock ‘n’ roll story … it’s the Beatles story.”

A crucial component of ‘Part One’ is footage from the band’s early years, including a treasure trove of 16mm film shot during the ‘Hotel California’ tour. According to Gibney, all those behind-the-scenes clips of the Eagles at their peak will help audiences see a new side of the oft-mythologized personalities behind the music. “You can see the character of the band, how open they were and more casual, off the cuff,” he explained. “You can see how different they are and how they complement each other.”

Ellwood initially viewed ‘History of the Eagles’ as a one-part documentary leading up to their breakup, with footage covering their post-reunion years meant to serve as supplemental material for a DVD release, but she ended up with enough for another movie. “They gave such great interviews we created a second film. In some ways it’s actually more moving than the first film,” she mused. “The emotional arc is when they grow up. You leave them at the height of their success in meltdown mode (in ‘Part One’) and in film two they grow and bring themselves back together. It has a nice arc.”

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