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Malcolm X, a 1972 documentary, is like the man himself great, extraordinary, tragic, and in the end triumphant. This documentary is excellent reference material for anyone who has read his autobiography or has seen Spike Lee's 1992 film of the same name. I often compare this documentary to another gem Martin Luther King: From Montgomery To Memphis (1970).The producers of Malcolm X allows the man through a montage of footage of his speeches, voice overs, and occasional narration by James Earl Jones and an appearance by Louis Farrakhan formerly known as Louis X to speak for himself. The producers of this film knew not to include people whom would give many opinions of Malcolm X, therefore compromising an understandable portrait of the man. This style of documenting ones life is rarely seen today, but needs to return. The viewer is left with a sympathetic, but proud feeling of having had such an intelligent, brilliant, but often flawed man on earth, even just for a little while. I rate this movie **** excellent. Check it out, it is on video.
a gripping documentary of the old school (subject centred) we see
Malcolm in the raw for most of the footage is him speaking at rallies
and direct to the media of the day.
A great intro to Malcolm's early beliefs influenced by the black Muslim movement, and his development into an independent thinker, who had to stand alone, and ultimately pay the price of turning his back on the narrow minded and self seeking Elijah Mohammad.
the fire and intensity of Malcolm x never seems to have dimmed in all his speeches and interviews, he focused the whole time on the one great goal: the raising and liberation of the black consciousness to acts of self determination.
he was a man who struggled perpetually for others, as the film shows abundantly. his great love for mankind unfolds before the viewer in a way that will doubtless be a surprise to those who have only heard the company line; that Malcolm was some kind of 'racist in reverse' or that he advocated violence for violence sake.
the and of the film with latter day opinions that his assassination was state-sponsored is probably not in doubt, even tho in retrospect it has become clear that the black Muslim movement was certainly the 'hand that fired the gun'.
the final analysis: that Malcolm died as he did will always be less important than the fact that he lived as he did: a man of unerring courage drawn from the deep well of spiritual quest for kinship with God and man. he stands as an inspiring example of how to live, without swallowing our tongues in fear at those who would have us live a life of lies so that we can conspire to cover up their lies as well.... so when you know the truth, speak out!
My review of the documentary "Malcolm X" follows its aspects as a movie
and not much of what's inside such as plot or the story of the great
and controversial leader Malcolm X.
Based on Alex Haley's biographical book about Malcolm X (who also wrote the book), and narrated by James Earl Jones, Arnold Perl's documentary is a collection of archive footages of Malcolm's speeches about race, Islam, his points of view about everything. Also contains images of old films, African-American figures, interviews and many associated things. Here we got the chance to meet the man behind the powerful figure who moved a whole nation into a sometimes positive direction, and sometimes a raged direction.
If you have interest on the subject it's a great suggestion to watch but I rather say that read Alex Haley's book or watch Spike Lee's biographical epic is more interesting and much more enjoyable than this documentary. It is only speeches after speeches and interviews and James Earl Jones's voice-over appears to tell everything about Malcolm's childhood and facts that wasn't filmed. It doesn't have that trajectory side of the poor kid that grew up, made a few mistakes, robbed, was arrested, found a religion and became a spoken person for it and then was murdered. It's more focused on ideas and thoughts then to Malcolm's personal life. Lee's film was very more intense, very true to the facts and follows the book very well. But considering that this documentary was made in 1972 it's quite good actually.
Good documentary, sometimes impressive, sometimes not. 8/10
James Earl Jones narrates this fascinating and moving documentary about
the life of the assassinated black leader through various sources.
Having an interest in history and to some degree the 1960s, I was vaguely aware of the Malcolm X story. I am especially interested in the FBI and the extreme measures they went to in order to bring their enemies down. In this regard, Malcolm shared a lot with Martin Luther King (who seems to have almost no part in this story).
How close to the true story does Spike Lee get in his film? Well, you have to watch this documentary to find out, or perhaps even read a book. The story of black rights is far from over, but rarely was there an individual who caught the nation's attention.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is a proud thing for a director to do a documentary on Malcolm X,
particularly only seven years after his assassination. There is no
doubt that the director threw in a lot of excellent archive footage of
Malcolm X, the KKK, the riots, etcetera and etcetera which made it feel
authentic. But good archive footage does not make a documentary film.
It lacked structure, a plot, and entertainment to keep the film going.
This did not have any of that.
The first five minutes of the film is a black screen with a little bit of old music playing. Following that, the documentary picks up with 1960s and 70s footage of African-Americans doing day-to-day things with an upbeat song that pervasively uses the n-word, while intermittently jumping to Malcolm X giving his thought provoking speeches. When this finally ends, the rest of the film is nothing more than randomly picked archive footage of Malcolm talking about his life and journey with the Black Muslims. There is little narration and when there is, it comes at the least expected time.
The only point the documentary gets interesting is when it comes to his assassination. Watching the interviews of Malcolm's widow, the NYC police captain, Martin Luther King Jr, Elijah Muhammad, and various people on the streets in Harlem of their reactions were enough to pull out of apathy. 4/10
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