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.