Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ballad in Blue/A Man Called Adam

I had these originally planned for February 31st. I found these two movies on the side of the road dis'guarded and stuff. Here's a review of what I saw and how it changed me...

Ballad In Blue- According to the film, simply being Ray Charles is an arduous task for him. His body language and delivery were stilted, the plot was inane, clearly being Ray Charles was beyond his wheelhouse. It’s a darned shame.

Ray was way over in England at a school for the blind when he met up with a little blind boy. Seemingly this was an accident (Ray had nothing to do with it) and there was also a mother in the mix too. It’s clear that this wasn’t an American production. Ray and his cohort were allowed to talk about how hot the mother of the kid was. You couldn’t have that kind of chat in America, not at that time.

Of course this is cinematic if not seraphic version of Brother Ray. There’s no horseplay, none of that foul-mouth/temper, him being hooked on "heron" and his “fooling around” with his Raelettes. In short this wasn’t Ray Charles at all. Oh yeah, I think the kid actually regained his sight, but I fell to sleep on this. This movie also featured boring subplot about the blind fella’s dad who was a music man too. He ended up playing and writing for Ray Charles's band. Yeah right!


A Man Called Adam: Sammy Davis Jr- Here’s something you haven’t seen before: A tortured jazz musician. Sammy Davis Jr played Adam Johnson, an apparently famous trumpet player who abused everyone around him and is haunted by a secret, a big secret. Of course this and his talent gave Davis Jr’s Adam carte blanche to be an asshole to the whole world.

This had a stellar supporting cast featuring Ossie Davis, Cicely Tyson and (guess who) Louis Armstrong as Stout Wilderbee, Uncle Ned…Willie "Sweet Daddy" Ferguson.  In Armstrong’s character we see the light hearted person that Adam’s Hangup’s would never allow him to be. Heavy sigh. Also in this movie we have a clearly bloated Peter Lawford as a dirty businessman Manny. Manny? Really?
You know what? Sammy David Jr. could actually act. There were times when you forgot he was such a mega star and not his loathsome hipster. I was taken with the story between Tyson and Sammy although her civil rights struggle was treated like a youthful passing fancy (why God why.) If anything, it was this part of the movie that showed what a tempestuous, prickish musician Adam was. Luckily Cicely never had to deal with anything like that in her real life (hoo hah hoo hah.) Guess who had a role in this movie? Frank Sinatra Jr. I bet Uncle Sammy told him some killer stories on the set. Mel Torme also shows up in a cameo that's a real gas!

Rating ***

Part 2: Was this in color or in black and white? It's all a blur. Believe it or not, A Man Called Adam also produced a soundtrack. It went to No 1. on the charts and it's still there!
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