Interspersed throughout his tour of the city are clips of Baldwin delivering an on-camera monologue, filmed against a plain background (in the director’s home). We want to hear what you have to say but need to verify your account. Coming Soon. The resulting documentary, “Take This Hammer,” is a crucial precursor and supplement to later films about Baldwin’s life and work, including Raoul Peck’s “I Am Not Your Negro,” from 2016. The image is an example of a ticket confirmation email that AMC sent you when you purchased your ticket. Get the freshest reviews, news, and more delivered right to your inbox! Sign up here. It features KQED's mobile film unit following author and activist James Baldwin in the spring of 1963, as he's driven around San Francisco to meet with members of the local African American community. Both versions of the film end with a monologue by Baldwin (talking into the camera, in a scene that recurs throughout the film), in which he speaks, to white America, of the figure of the N-word: “White people have invented him,” Baldwin says, invoking the epithet and calling him “necessary.” He goes on to say, “Well, he’s unnecessary to me, so he must be necessary to you. You're almost there! By creating an account, you agree to the Privacy Policy Forgot your password? And that's where it's at." Just below that it reads "Ticket Confirmation#:" followed by a 10-digit number. Baldwin believed that he and Moore had agreed that the film would consist solely of the interview scenes with people in the street, whereas Moore felt that such a film “wouldn’t work, even for black audiences, perhaps,” and needed the monologue scenes, however dubious their provenance. Coming Soon, Regal Coming Soon. All Critics (1) “They’re gonna let us tear down our own homes, out here in Hunters Point,” one man tells Baldwin. ", A 16mm print of Take This Hammer was digitally restored in 2009 by the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive and screened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in August with an introduction by Moore, who discussed the film with his cinematographer, Academy Award-winning documentary maker Irving Saraf. . A 16mm film print featuring Moore's original edit (59 minutes long) was identified in the KQED Film Collection at the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive in June 2013 which contained 15 minutes of extra footage, mostly featuring scenes of African American youth speaking with Baldwin about their lives and the police, on the streets of San Francisco. He also reflects on the racial inequality that African Americans are forced to confront and at one point tries to lift the morale of a young man, by expressing his conviction that: "There will be a Negro president of this country but it will not be the country that we are sitting in now. He’s with you, but not when the going gets rough.”, Among the segments that were removed for the originally broadcast version is Baldwin’s follow-up to his remark about the similarity of San Francisco and Birmingham: there’s “no moral distance,” he repeats, “which is to say no distance between President Kennedy and Bull Connor, because the same machine put them both in power.” Yet, even in the absence of that remark, “Take This Hammer” presents a remarkably frank view of nationwide racism and the political and economic order that sustains it—and depends on it. There are no approved quotes yet for this movie. Moore, who died in 2015, discusses the sense of moral urgency—inspired by the publication of Baldwin’s essay “Letter from a Region in My Mind,” in The New Yorker—that impelled him to make “Take This Hammer,” and the technical inventiveness that made the film possible, including a rear-engine station wagon that allowed a “small cameraman” to crouch in the uncovered trunk in front of the windshield. A woman adds, moments later, “We’ll be living out in the streets, in tents.” The city was in the process of building modern housing projects for displaced black residents; Baldwin and Luster visit them, and, even as Baldwin admires their aesthetic veneer, he sees through it: “You can build a few better plants, but you cannot do anything about the moral and psychological effects of being in the ghetto,” about “a million forces which are inevitably set in motion when a people are despised.”, Standing outside another housing project under construction, Baldwin goes into detail about those effects: the “least-damaged kids” would be “a little sardonic” about American ideals, and “the more damaged kids would simply feel like blowing it up.” What Baldwin hears from young people in San Francisco is, in significant measure, despair and rage. and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango. Copyright © Fandango. Cinemark Moore says that he filmed Baldwin’s monologue in his own home: he’d invited Baldwin home for dinner, after a long and hard day of shooting. In Richard O. Moore’s documentary, James Baldwin finds San Francisco’s young black people keenly aware of the discrimination and violence that they face. J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs & The Church of the SubGenius, Fall TV First Look: Find Out What’s Coming, The Best Peacock Original Shows and Movies, All Upcoming Disney Movies: New Disney Live-Action, Animation, Pixar, Marvel, and More. Those involved with the KQED Film Unit were Irving Saraf, Phil Greene, and sound engineer Hank McGill. This may have made it more of an "artful" documentary but at the expense of, once again, ignoring the plight of young, urban African Americans. The long monologue at the end of the film shifted the attention back to Baldwin. Baldwin has frank exchanges with local people on the street and meets with community leaders in the Bayview and Western Addition neighborhoods. This cleared the way for both local and national broadcast. Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy. All rights reserved. The daring and accomplished “And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead” subtly yet powerfully expands the familiar norms of the historical-documentary genre. Decker elicits impulsive, even reckless performances from Elisabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg that capture the dangerous power of thought in action. © 2020 Condé Nast. The percentage of Approved Tomatometer Critics who have given this movie a positive review. One young man tells Baldwin, “The white man, he’s not taking advantage of you out in public, like they’re doing down in Birmingham, but he’s killing you with that pencil and paper, brother!” At the time, the city was undergoing what Luster calls “redevelopment”—meaning, he says, “the removal of Negroes”—and Baldwin learns from black San Franciscans that one of the outrages inflicted upon them is their being offered, amid the virtual impossibility of finding a job, work in construction—or, rather, destruction. This was made publicly available online in April.[7]. He declares: "There is no moral distance ... between the facts of life in San Francisco and the facts of life in Birmingham. “Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard. A 1963 visit to San Francisco by author and social activist James Baldwin is chronicled. They won't be able to see your review if you only submit your rating. Please click the link below to receive your verification email. To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. Listen to a sample comparison of Take this Hammer's optical soundtrack, before and after digital audio restoration: San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive,,,,,,, Documentary films about African Americans, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 27 May 2020, at 00:54. Please reference “Error Code 2121” when contacting customer service. “That’s the only way we’re gonna get anything.”, Baldwin, wearing a microphone clipped to his shirt, discusses with Luster a primary obstacle in drastically changing the circumstances of black Americans: white liberals who, he says, “think of themselves as missionaries” and seek the “alleviation and protection of their own consciences” but have “never discovered who a Negro is—not what, but who.” Baldwin’s view is far-reaching and tragic—in order for the needed comprehensive changes to occur, every white liberal will have to “risk everything he has, from his status to his child, since that’s what we have to do.” Baldwin finds the limits of this group’s politics at its self-interest: “You can’t serve, as they say, two masters. . They felt that the lengthy sequences with young Black Muslims were excessive and that the film should not be broadcast. Verified reviews are considered more trustworthy by fellow moviegoers. Coming Soon. Your AMC Ticket Confirmation# can be found in your order confirmation email. Moore also discusses how the making of the film resulted in a break between him and Baldwin. It also placed a great strain on his relationship with James Baldwin. KQED's mobile film unit follows author and activist James Baldwin in the spring of 1963 as he's driven around San Francisco to meet with members of the local African-American community. and the Terms and Policies, [6], In March and April 2014 sound editor John Nutt digitally restored the film's optical soundtrack, to improve the audio quality for long term preservation. Just leave us a message here and we will work on getting you verified. The percentage of users who rated this 3.5 stars or higher. In “Take This Hammer,” Baldwin creates a deep, passionate cross-sectional analysis of the lives of black Americans during the struggle for civil rights and amid the endurance of Jim Crow. Just confirm how you got your ticket. Although the cuts in the broadcast version are significant, they don’t bowdlerize the essence of the film: Baldwin’s trenchant and urgent interviews with the city’s black residents, mainly young people, and his own powerful insights regarding the implications and demands of the historical moment. Though Moore’s exploitative and compromising actions don’t taint the substance or the essence of the film, they suggest a different and even better film that’s hiding among the footage. The New Yorker may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. All rights reserved. Cutting the sequences shifted the attention to Baldwin and away from the Black Muslims. He is escorted by Youth For Service's Executive Director Orville Luster and trying to establish: "The real situation of Negroes in the city, as opposed to the image San Francisco would like to present." Upon his return to San Francisco, he established a documentary unit at KQED to create direct-cinema documentaries, immersive and participatory, which depended on lightweight cameras and portable synch-sound equipment. Movette Film Transfer of San Francisco remastered this 16mm positive film print in August 2013 in 2K resolution (2048x1556 pixels), using a Kinetta film scanner. | Fresh (1). Take This Hammer is a documentary film produced and directed by KQED (TV)'s Richard O. Moore for National Educational Television in 1963.

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