If you're a Pink Floyd fan you might think you already know all there is to know about `Wish You Were Here'. However, you may be surprised and delighted by this truly superb documentary insight into the origin, creation and final editing of what many (including the surviving band members themselves) feel to be Floyd's most enduring album. The interviews with Gilmour, Waters and Mason are bang up-to-date, archive footage of the late Rick Wright talking about the project is also included as are vignettes from Roy Harper, sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson and stunt man Ronnie Rondell who was set on fire for the album artwork (nb this is before the days of sophisticated CGI and if you needed a convincing image of someone on fire you had to do it for real).
The spectre at the feast is the late Syd Barrett, who passed away in July 2006 just a couple of years before Rick Wright succumbed to cancer and also left us. The original inspiration for Floyd and the early band leader, most fans know Barrett is the subject of both `Shine on...' and the album's title track. A cameo of Barrett's short artistic career is featured in the film. Out-of-the-blue, seven years after leaving the band he turned up in Abbey Road Studio whilst the band was recording SOYCD and at first, no-one recognised him with shaved head and a more rotund physique. The only known photo of Barrett from this period was taken on that day, at Abbey Road Studios. Was Barrett psychic and did he pick up on the project his former band were engaged in? It seems so.
Some of the more interesting moments in the film explore how and why Roy Harper ended up recording the vocal track on `Have a Cigar' (which Waters later regretted, wishing he had sung the track himself) and the work put in by Thorgerson on the concept, design and realization of the album artwork.
The editing is excellent, the interview material well chosen, the pacing just right. Each moment is a gem; there's no fluff here. Recommended for all Floyd fans, and for anyone who appreciates the craft of good documentary film-making.