Saxophone player Charlie Parker comes to New York in 1940. He is quickly noticed for his remarkable way of playing. He becomes a drug addict but his loving wife Chan tries to help him.Written by
Though the film is in color, the Warner Brothers logo at the start of the picture was unusually displayed in black-and-white. The logo is in color in the movie's trailer. See more »
When Bird is dictates the telegram to be sent to Chan, it's printed as he speaks. He says "Forgive me for not being in the hospital with you," but the telegram reads "Forgive me for not being there with you while you were at the hospital." See more »
No, no... what you're really asking me is, how come when I'm supposed to hit at 9:30, I hit at 9:30... huh? How come I land on a cat I love almost as much as I love you and then fire his ass for showing up late or stoned... I can hold a group together... why I'm a leader.
Charlie 'Bird' Parker:
That's what I'm asking.
Because they don't expect me to be. Because deep down they like it if the nigger turns out to be unreliable. Because that's the way they think it's supposed to be. Because I won't give them the ...
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Pre-titles card: "There are no second acts in American lives." - F. Scott Fitzgerald See more »
If you like Jazz you can't 'not like' this movie. If you like Noir you will dig the overall look of it. My only problem is that Eastwood concentrates more on presenting the tragic side of Charlie parker's life and so we get a very dark and somber film.
While we do get glimpses of Parker as 'musician', Forest Whitaker's, Parker as 'junkie', tends to weigh down the story. If Eastwood had to choose between highlighting the story of 'The greatest jazz musician of all time' or 'The premature death of a self-destructive Junkie', It's obvious which route he chose to take...the easiest one.
Ultimately it becomes more a movie about Parker's relationship with his wife Chan, and less about Parker's relationship with Jazz. In my opinion, Clint doesn't really succeed at showing us why we should love the character of Bird and maybe this was not his intention; but if a separation of the personality (warts and all) and his art is necessary to show an honest depiction; then why not also highlight the music and allow it to speak for itself? In this case, by making it a more satisfying listening experience like Formans "Amadeus" or Tavernier's "Round Midnight". The way they allowed the music be THE lead character of the movie.
Still, the improved fidelity in the remix of the soundtrack makes some of these old recordings easier digestible for those who may be new to Parker's music. Incidentally, this is the best fidelity of Charlie Parker you'll find anywhere. On the whole this is not a bad movie; It is not a complete depress-fest like two other movies about drug induced pop culture icons: 'The Doors' or 'Sid & Nancy'. Indeed this movie has its moments. There's a scene where Parker (blowing on his sax) wakes up Dizzy in the middle of the night to improvise on 'Now's the Time'. I also love the scene where he takes a gig with Red Rodney to play at a Jewish wedding. I wanted more of this type of interaction with his fellow Jazzers!
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