ALL NIGHT LONG 1961 Jazz Noir on RetroPlex 9/28

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Dewey1960
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ALL NIGHT LONG 1961 Jazz Noir on RetroPlex 9/28

Post by Dewey1960 »

Here's a heads up for those interested in catching one of the most unique films of the 1960s: the stunning and startling ALL NIGHT LONG, a 1961 British film noir airing tomorrow (Friday, September 28) on the Retroplex Channel.

ALL NIGHT LONG, directed by Basil Dearden (VICTIM) and starring PATRICK McGOOHAN ("The Prisoner"), Richard Attenborough, Marti Stevens, Betsy Blair and Keith Mitchell is a contemporary updating of Shakespeare's OTHELLO, set in the ultra-mod world of jazz musicians and marijuana. A prominent black musician, married to a white woman, is bedevilled by a caustic drummer (McGoohan in the "Iago" role) bent on destroying their marriage by insinuation and innuendo, paving the way for tragic consequences. The performances are uniformly brilliant and the entire mood of the piece is driven by the on-screen performances of jazz giants Dave Brubeck, Johnny Dankworth and Charles Mingus.

If you've never seen this unforgettable gem, make a point of checking the times (I believe they're airing it a couple of times on Friday) and grab this one. Fans of psychological noir and excellent jazz will be amply rewarded.

Here's the trailer:
[youtube][/youtube]
Last edited by Dewey1960 on March 8th, 2009, 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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moira finnie
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Post by moira finnie »

All Night Long (1961): Saw it. Loved it. Relished the oh-so-cool atmosphere reinforced by the converted loft setting, complete with abstract expressionist paintings, exposed brick, oodles of Eames chairs, and mid-century brick-a-brac . One quibble: I thought that Shakespeare's ending might've been just a wee bit more accurate about tragic human fate, though the inability of mortals to escape their own nature was brought home well. :wink:

Some of the highlights for me, other than the jazz greats who popped up throughout the film, were:

Patrick McGoohan: what a fine, weasely yet appealingly tortured Iago character he makes here. McG. appears in this movie just around the time he emerged as Secret Agent (hit it, Johnny Rivers!), the very scary Scarecrow of Romney Marsh and later The Prisoner. Oh, and not to mention his interesting, not-so-capable veterinarian/father of the cat loving lass in The Three Lives of Thomasina. Boy, this guy was born too late. His talent for making brusque astringency copasetic made this guy ideal for the silent or early talkie period. Or better yet, he should've been around in the Regency period when being dashingly malicious was even more in style.

Betsy Blair: as McGoohan's long-suffering mate she gets to dress up for once and creates a detailed sketch of a human doormat. Her own warmth helped to suggest the sensitive flesh and blood underneath what might have been just another cardboard character. Ms. Blair (ex-Mrs. Gene Kelly, btw), was unidentifiable initially because of her relatively glamorous appearance.

Keith Michell: like McGoohan, a throw-back to a time when roles called for more theatrical panache, it was interesting to see this actor when young. Perhaps best known for his theatical work & numerous appearances on Murder, She Wrote, poor ol'Keith seems to have had a strange hairline even in 1961. If you ever have a chance, please catch The Gypsy and the Gentleman (1958) directed by Joseph Losey with Michell & Melina Mecouri. Great dashing nonsense, executed with a wild, entertaining brio by all parties.

Geoffrey Holder: Almost lost in the crowd at the jazz party being thrown, the noted choreographer, musician & artist can't be missed entirely in his tiny role due to his 6'6" frame and deep baritone with a touch of Trinidad in it. Does anyone else remember his great laugh or the 7-Up commercial for the "lymon"?

Richard Attenborough: oh, that grounded air you have, and that bow tie and those glasses! Dickie, call the "What Not to Wear" crew, will ya? Honestly, Attenborough seems to go unnoticed so often for his consistently quiet good portrayals in film after film, it seems to take forever to notice the guy. While he seemed to have flashier roles, often as borderline psychos in the '40s & '50s, check out his ability to make listening & decency compelling in All Night Long, or his very flashy performance in Guns at Batasi(1964) or his excellent work in The Sand Pebbles (1965) or The Great Escape (1964) from this decade. He is so good & probably a better actor than he ever will be as a director.

Finally, I was quite impressed with lead actor, Paul Harris' work in this movie as the Othello figure. It must've been quite a disappointment for the poor guy that he didn't have more opportunities in leading roles. Probably too few roles for black actors in that era.

I caught this one on Encore recently. Thanks for spotting it and writing about it, Dewey.
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Post by sugarpuss »

Yes! Two more people that have seen this movie. I wound up accidentally finding it one night on the Encore Love Stories channel and I loved it as well.

It really is Patrick McGoohan's movie though. The whole movie relies on how evil he can be and he does a great job being totally despicable in so many ways--from breaking up the happy marriage of his friends, manipulating so many people by splicing audio tapes together and treating his own wife so terribly. I always wondered if that was him playing the drums, because if it was him he was quite good. And if it wasn't, then the special effects people did a really good job.

It's always interesting to see Betsy Blair in a film role. The only movie I've seen her in is is "Marty". She's so gentle and sweet and willing to see the good in her own husband, even after his whole plan blows up in his face. She's excellent. I wonder if she drew on her own relationship with Gene Kelly to portray a wife who was overshadowed by her husband's drive and talent.

It's very interesting to see the mixed race relationships in this film. Black people mix with white--there's no heavy moral message, just people who are brought together over their love of music and friendship. For 1962, this had to be a somewhat radical concept. It's also great to see all the jazz legends doing their thing without their appearances looking like a cheap casting stunt.
moirafinnie wrote:Richard Attenborough: oh, that grounded air you have, and that bow tie and those glasses! Dickie, call the "What Not to Wear" crew, will ya? Honestly, Attenborough seems to go unnoticed so often for his consistently quiet good portrayals in film after film, it seems to take forever to notice the guy. While he seemed to have flashier roles, often as borderline psychos in the '40s & '50s, check out his ability to make listening & decency compelling in All Night Long, or his very flashy performance in Guns at Batasi(1964) or his excellent work in The Sand Pebbles (1965) or The Great Escape (1964) from this decade. He is so good & probably a better actor than he ever will be as a director.
I love this whole description, Moria. Everytime I see him as an actor, I just fall in love with his characters. He is, hands down, the best part of "The Sand Pebbles" for me. He's also terrific in "The Flight of the Phoenix" as the Jimmy Stewart's co-pilot--you don't realize it until the end, but he's the heart of the movie. He's so low-key in the films I've seen him in--never over the top or chewing the scenery (I love that phrase), but he really makes you believe in the person he's portraying. In "All Night Long", he really doesn't have a huge role, which is a shame. He's kind of just in the room one second and out the next.

Thanks for bringing it to attention, Dewey. Even if the story doesn't interest people, it's always worth it to stick around for the music!
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Post by jdb1 »

moirafinnie wrote: Betsy Blair: as McGoohan's long-suffering mate she gets to dress up for once and creates a detailed sketch of a human doormat. Her own warmth helped to suggest the sensitive flesh and blood underneath what might have been just another cardboard character. Ms. Blair (ex-Mrs. Gene Kelly, btw), was unidentifiable initially because of her relatively glamorous appearance.

Geoffrey Holder: Almost lost in the crowd at the jazz party being thrown, the noted choreographer, musician & artist can't be missed entirely in his tiny role due to his 6'6" frame and deep baritone with a touch of Trinidad in it. Does anyone else remember his great laugh or the 7-Up commercial for the "lymon"?

Moira, I remember Geoffrey Holder as the toast of New York City in the 60s and 70s - he seemed to be in everything on TV, made innumerable live appearances, won a Tony for the staging of "The Wiz," and another for, I think, costume design for a musical he designed and choreographed called "Timbuktu!" - a retelling of the old warhorse "Kismet." He still pops up here and there, and you can't miss him - so tall, gleaming bald head (he did it long before shaving one's head was popular), and that deep voice.

Betsy Blair has not been in a lot of movies, but you can see her most freqently as one of the inmates in The Snake Pit. If you haven't yet seen it, you should watch for her in Another Part of the Forest as Birdie, the poor little thing who is virtually sold into marriage to Oscar Hubbard. Blair usually played poor little things, but I remember her brief appearance in a Claude Berri movie (sometimes called "Maazel Tov"), where she played an absolutely cold and merciless English instructor. Very funny.
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Post by benwhowell »

I remember reading about this movie while researching Basil Dearden. I think the only Dearden movie I've seen is "Victim" and I was extremely impressed with that one. He really was ahead of his time. Another one I'd like to see is "The Mind Benders" from '62.
Unfortunately, I do not have the Retroplex Channel or Encore Love Stories...Never heard of 'em.
Here's hoping for more Dearden on TCM...
In the meantime, here's Geoffrey Holder for "The Un-cola-"

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Post by Sue Sue Applegate »

I am so glad I read this thread yesterday because I had never seen All Night Long...
Great music and wonderful characters...
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Post by Jezebel38 »

Hey! I had read this thread and thought - jeez, I wish I had Retroplex, this film sounds cool - and what do you know; I was looking through my Comcast On Demand free movies tonight and this was a new listing; I just finished watching it! I thought it was pretty cool, was about half way through it before I relized that was Keith Michell as Cassio. Thought Patrick McGoohan's Iago was going through some pretty incredulous machinations just to start his own band! But Betsy Blair - I like this actress, but what the heck was she doing in a film like this? Did she move to England after she split with Gene?

Moira - I agree with you about the ending; one expects a few characters to be dead at the end of a re-working of Othello!

Some questions about the music though, if anyone can answer; who was the brazilian cat playing the bongo drums? And who is/was Marti Stevens? Was she really a singer, and was that her own voice? Because when she launched into her "new" vocal style, it sounded like Cleo Laine to me.
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Post by moira finnie »

But Betsy Blair - I like this actress, but what the heck was she doing in a film like this? Did she move to England after she split with Gene?
Hi Jez,
Betsy Blair lived in Europe after her divorce from Gene Kelly in the mid '50s, acting in several films there. She was eventually married to noted British director Karel Reisz (Saturday Night & Sunday Morning, Isadora, Sweet Dreams) in the early '60s and remained so until his death a few years ago.

According to her gentle memoir about her sometimes enchanted life with Kelly, called "The Memory of All That", Betsy Blair was "graylisted" during the McCarthy era and was a bit overwhelmed by her marriage to a Hollywood superstar. Kelly argued strongly with industry biggies just to get her the chance to audition for her memorable part in Marty. She and Gene moved to Europe for a time to take advantage of the US tax laws. The most touching parts of her memoir, I thought, were her memories of her courtship with Kelly, their good times among Hollywood's brighter bulbs, the flowering of his talent, and her bittersweet visit with him for tea shortly before his death.

One incident stands out for me that Blair described about Gene Kelly: waking up in the middle of the night and finding her husband gone, she went downstairs to see him dancing alone in his stocking feet, eyes closed, working out more moves for his films while he was almost sleepwalking. The lady writes well at times, though some of the book needed a bit of editing, (but don't we all!) :wink:
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