Regina King – One Night in Miami … (2020) Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke


“Regina King’s feature-film directorial debut, One Night in Miami . . . (2020), persuasively envisions an astonishing true-life convergence of Black heroes at a portentous mid-twentieth-century juncture in American life. In doing so, the movie brings forth its own array of astonishments, not the least of which is how impeccably it fine-tunes boldness and delicacy in rendering its time, its place, and its four complex protagonists, whether in tandem or in solitude. To Kemp Powers’s stage play, which he adapted and craftily expanded for the screen, King brings the diligent empathy of an accomplished actor as well as an agile, solicitous eye for color and light, an ear for dialogue alert to subtlety and hidden emotion, and a moral urgency pressed by the imperatives of ongoing injustices to find the best uses of the past to interrogate the present. Was it really? History is mute on many specifics of what went down at the Hampton House Motel in Miami on the night of February 25, 1964, hours after Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. ‘shook up the world’ a few dozen blocks away by seizing the world’s heavyweight boxing championship from imposing, glowering, forbidding Sonny Liston. All that’s known for certain is that the fresh (in more ways than one) new champion got together at that predominantly Black motel that same evening to celebrate his win with Jim Brown, the nonpareil professional football player of his era; Sam Cooke, the rhythm-and-blues recording idol and emerging music mogul; and Malcolm X, the acerbic, inflammatory voice of the Nation of Islam, who was at that time mentoring Clay toward his reinvention as a Black Muslim named Muhammad Ali. … The country was still reeling three months after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, as the civil rights movement pushed on through its own recent brushes with cold-blooded murder: the shooting death of Mississippi NAACP field 
secretary Medgar Evers and the bombing of an Alabama church that killed four Black girls had bookended a summer of 1963 highlighted by the March on Washington. Combine all that with the galvanic arrival in America that same February of 1964 of the Beatles, whose photo op in Miami with Cassius Clay a week before his big fight is alluded to in Powers’s script (‘Sissies,’ Clay called them, more out of bemusement than ridicule), and you have the perfect storm of unbridled possibility and unnerving momentum. …”
Criterion – One Night in Miami . . .: In the Room
Criterion (Video)
NY Times – ‘One Night in Miami’ Review: After the Big Fight, a War of Words By A.O. Scott (Video)
Voice – ‘One Night In Miami’ Brings Four Black Icons Into Tight Focus
W – One Night in Miami…

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Black Power, Bob Dylan, Civil Rights Mov., Draft board, Malcolm X, Movie, Music, Religion, Sports, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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