Shakespeare + JazzOctober 19, 2015
From time to time I venture to Cheapo in search of out-of-print or lesser-known films. Scavenging fills me with the anticipation of discovering that cover art, title, plot, and cast that’ll blow my mind and leave me with no choice but to engage. My latest find was the fantastically priced “Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden’s London Underground.” Out of the five movies included in this box set, I chose to watch “All Night Long” due to the irresistible description:
“Othello is translated to the world of sixties London jazz clubs in Basil Dearden’s smoky and sensational All Night Long. This daring psychodrama also features on-screen appearances by jazz legends Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, Tubby Hayes, and Johnny Dankworth.”
Yeah! And it gets better…
All Night Long is set in Rod’s swanky loft in London. Richard Attenborough plays the Rod Hamilton, the wealthy host of an anniversary party for peeps in the music biz. You may recall Richard by his best hat-wearing roles: Pinkie Brown in “Brighton Rock” (‘47) and John Hammond in “Jurassic Park” (‘93).
As the guests gradually fill the apartment and the music intensifies, the tension between the main players creates a cringe-inducing atmosphere for 91 minutes. The drummer, Johnnie, is hungry for success and is told he needs one thing to have it all: the retired singer, Delia. Delia is devoted to her husband Rex and refuses the drummer’s offer. Johnnie turns to insinuation as the tool to for destroying Rex’s perception of his wife. During all this, Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus are just chillin’. It’s a solid juxtaposition.
The musical performances act as a sort of intermission for the plot to thicken. The cinematography complements and enhances the performances so well that I forget that I’m in the middle of an “Othello” film adaptation. Yet, it maintains the appropriate energy required to continue the story. On a side note, the blunt introductions for the already well-known musicians is great for a chuckle. I equate it to Hi Doggie (The Room).
Ignore that I just connected this movie with “The Room.” “All Night Long” is highly recommended for a variety of reasons: the music, the history, the adaptation, the look and style. It’s a gem.
If I’ve won you over and you’re ready to invest, here’s more about all the movies included in this box set.
If you’re not interested, but are up for watching Lionel Richie’s music video for “All Night Long,” then we can still be friends.