King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis

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King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis
King a filmed record montgomery to memphis.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Produced by Ely Landau
Narrated by Harry Belafonte
Ruby Dee
Ben Gazzara
Charlton Heston
James Earl Jones
Burt Lancaster
Paul Newman
Anthony Quinn
Marlon Brando
Clarence Williams III
Joanne Woodward
Edited by Lora Hayes
John N. Carter
Distributed by Kino Lorber
Release dates
  • March 24, 1970 (1970-03-24)
Running time
185 mins
Country United States
Language English

King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery To Memphis is a 1970 American documentary film biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his participation in the nonviolent campaign for civil rights and social justice in the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights Movement. It uses only original newsreel and other primary material, unvarnished and unretouched, and covers the period from the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 and 1956 through his assassination in 1968. The original newsreel segments are framed by celebrity narrators Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Ben Gazzara, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, Anthony Quinn, Marlon Brando, Clarence Williams III, and Joanne Woodward. The movie was produced by Ely Landau. Richard Kaplan was the associate producer in charge of production.

When first released, it was shown in theaters as a "one-time-only" event on March 24, 1970 for one night only. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary, Features.[1] In 1999, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in its National Film Registry.

After its "one-time-only" showing it was occasionally seen on commercial television (unedited and with limited interruption) and for a short period released for home video on the Pacific Arts label and distributed to the educational market by Richard Kaplan Productions. Then for many years it was no longer available and rarely seen. Finally, in 2010 Richard Kaplan, who had long felt that King should be seen by a new generation who knew of it only by reputation, set up a not for profit company, A Filmed Record Inc., and produced a DVD using master elements he had stored over the years. A Filmed Record, Inc. released the DVD and King was once again available after 40 years of being a "lost" film.

In 2012 A Filmed Record, Inc. (with the cooperation of the estate of Ely Landau producer of the original film) entered into an agreement with Kino Lorber giving them world wide exclusive rights to distribute King and to make possible its being seen by the largest possible audience. Kino Lorber, Inc., in partnership with The Library of Congress and with the cooperation of the Museum of Modern Art, restored and remastered the original enabling 35 mm prints and made the film available on DVD and Blu-ray. Kino Lorber and Kaplan prepared a nation-wide commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and King's "I Have A Dream" speech, which was screened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's BAMcinématek on August 13, 2013, followed by a screening at Film Forum on August 28, 2013. Kino Lorber is also launching an educational outreach campaign to provide the 24 minute abridged film, Legacy of a Dream to every high school in America.

Reception[edit]

"...deserves to be known as one of the greatest documentaries of all time" - CriterionCast
"A piece of history of immense power" - Los Angeles Times

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