Cinema Station

The Jazz Movie: Basil Dearden’s All Night Long | March 14, 2011

The Jazz movie. Since I don’t know much about Jazz and haven’t seen many of the movies made about it, I’m totally unqualified to declare any movie the quintessential Jazz movie. Still, I do not retract my statement. All Night Long, directed by Basil Dearden, is the Jazz movie because I can’t imagine anything more perfect.

At first, a 50’s/60’s re-telling of Othello in the Jazz-club London sounds like one of those rotten Shakespeare modernizations that often (always) go wrong. Well, slap a one-location, one-night scenario on and you’ve got potential for a major cinematic blunder, full of good intentions and bad decisions. But no. Somehow it worked.

All Night Long is one long night of deception, lust, greed, and Jazz. A mixed British/American cast crowds a warehouse like apartment with brass instruments and back-stabbing motivations. There are lots of good actors here: Richard Attenborough for one, and Paul Harris as the noble Othello-turned-Jazz band leader Rex is solid as hell. But it’s one guy who steals the show and his name is Patrick McGoohan.

I had no idea McGoohan when in the movie when I started it. He navigates the tiny world of musicians and women with devilish ambition. Boy, he makes the whole picture. A dynamite performance, I’m telling you. It rocks the socks off his turn in The Prisoner and stands as one of the most intriguing/ repulsive/ attractive characters the cinema knows.

And here, another stellar effort from Basil Dearden, who I first made acquaintances with last week’s The League of Gentlemen. Dearden was no fluke filmmaker. No. It took great cinematic instincts to hold a movie like this together and he keeps it tight and wild till the last beautiful shot.

Throw in some cameo spins from Dave Brubeck and Charlie Mingus and wow, this is one hell of a picture.

-TM

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1 Comment »

  1. In order to make the film seem alive and actually taking place in one night, there was a filming technique used that was somewhat like that used in making live TV plays of that era. The camera occasionally takes you around the Attenborough pad in continuous takes, stopping to take in certain conversations and then moving on around the room. This must have taken quite some planning and a lot of discipline on the set. These sequences also make it feel as if you are in the room yourself, and part of the scene……man… ;-D

    Comment by Moor Larkin — March 15, 2011 @ 9:57 am


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