Once a popular seaside resort, Asbury Park, New Jersey was also home to the Upstage, a now legendary club where musicians such Steven Van Zandt, Southside Johnny Lyon and Bruce Springsteen got their first breaks. It was there that Springsteen met players such as Vini ‘Mad Dog’ Lopez, David Sancious, Garry Tallent, Danny Federici and Ernest ‘Boom’ Carter. These musicians brought the sound of Asbury Park to the wider world. Then on Independence Day, 1970, Asbury Park experienced seven days of race riots which crippled the town for the next 45 years and destroyed the famous Westside jazz and blues scene. Closed down and boarded up, the Upstart club remains a perfect time capsule, a memorial to the legendary Jersey sound. This film features a concert given to a sold-out Paramount Theater by Van Zandt, Southside Johnny and Springsteen plus never-before-seen interviews and performances, and an Upstage reunion jam. A mindblowing theatrical event in Asbury Park where it all began.
In many ways the definitive rock concert doc, Martin Scorsese’s THE LAST WALTZ feels as fresh and invigorating today as ever. Capturing what was billed as The Band’s last ever live performance in San Francisco on 25 November 1976, Scorsese’s film provides an intimate first-hand portrait of a group weary from 16 years on the road but still dedicated to their loyal following. The charismatic frontman Robbie Robertson is very much the focus, and at times his personality overshadows the film’s end-of-an-era undertones. As a piece of documentary cinema, however, THE LAST WALTZ is unmissable viewing, not least for the presence of rock royalty that peppers the footage, including Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond and Ringo Starr.
“We all played guitar. We all knew a bit. But he seemed to know more than us.” - Paul McCartney
In July 1970 rock music’s burgeoning festival culture descended en masse on the tiny rural village of Byron, Georgia and witnessed an unforgettable performance by Jimi Hendrix in full flight. In the dark shadow of civil rights unrest and the unrelenting toll of the Vietnam War, the legendary guitarist drew in over 300,000 people – the largest US audience of his career – to the Second Atlanta International Pop Festival for his concert on 4 July.
Playing alongside a new documentary contextualising Hendrix’s journey to what would be the last of the great American rock festival, 16-mm colour footage (restored from the original negative) captures the fretboard magician skilfully blending favourites such as ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)’ with hitherto unreleased songs, as well as a storming, firework-backed rendition of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’.
Contains infrequent strong language and drug misuse.
Bob Fosse’s stylishly directed and choreographed screen adaptation of John Kander’s fine musical based on Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin stories. With a chilling vision of Weimar Berlin, a city of gaiety and perversion, champagne and Nazi propaganda, CABARET features a show-stopping, Oscar-winning musical performance from Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey as the unforgettable emcee, and a truly extraordinary final fadeout.
Ella Fitzgerald was a 15-year-old street kid when she won a talent contest in 1934 at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Within months she was a star. Over the next six decades, her sublime voice would transform the tragedies of her own life and the troubles of her times into joy. JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS retraces this extraordinary journey.
Using never-before-seen images and unheard interviews, the film shows an Ella the world never knew: tough, thoughtful, funny; a dazzling musical innovator who defied horrifying racism; a committed civil rights activist; and an intensely private soul who sacrificed much of her personal life. At a time when she was the biggest singing star in the world, her pianist and friend Oscar Peterson said Ella was “the loneliest woman in the world”. But, as Jamie Cullum says, “Her music is one of the reasons it’s worth being on this planet.”
A documentary record of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, JAZZ ON A SUMMER’S DAY is popularly hailed as one of the first and most influential live concert films. A who’s who of legendary jazz and rock ’n’ roll performers make up the impressive line-up, with director Stern’s deft, economical style capturing them in all their glory. In terms of stand-out turns it’s too close to call, but Chuck Berry’s rendition of ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’ nestles pretty near the top of the pile, with Mahalia Jackson’s spine-tingling performance of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ closely jostling. The film set the template for the genre; WOODSTOCK and MONTEREY POP swiftly followed. JAZZ ON A SUMMER’S DAY is unquestionably essential viewing for music, archival and documentary fans alike.
Acclaimed at the time of its release forty years ago as the most exciting, stirring and perceptive youth film since REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, QUADROPHENIA was the sensational feature debut from Franc Roddam, a successful TV director who has gone on to create AUF WIEDERSEHN PET and MASTERCHEF.
Like TOMMY before it, the film was based on a concept album by ‘The Who’ and became an instant cult classic both in the UK and in America, influencing an entire generation of filmmakers. Deliberately naturalistic, the film centres on a remarkable recreation of the world of the Mods and Rockers in the mid ’60s, brilliantly capturing the essence of the era and starkly portraying the notorious pitched battles on the Brighton seafront.
Award-winning director Ron Howard and the team behind THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK celebrate the life of beloved opera star Luciano Pavarotti, who sold over 100 million records in his lifetime and brought opera to the people. Using footage from concerts, interviews and the Pavarotti family archives, Howard goes beyond the iconic public figure to reveal the man himself. Charting his rise from humble beginnings in Northern Italy through to superstardom, PAVAROTTI lifts the curtain on the great tenor as a husband and father, a committed philanthropist, and a fragile artist who had a complex relationship with his unique talents.