Muhammad Ali, the Greatest (1969) William Klein, Muhammad Ali, Sonny Liston, Angelo Dundee, Documentary, Sport

Muhammad Ali, the Greatest (1969)
He’s the greatest fighter of all time. A sports icon that is loved throughout the world. A man driven by his ambition to be the best. Muhammad Ali is a name that to this day puts fear in the strongest of men. Hear from the people who knew him best, from experts of the world of boxing, relive the legendary fights and explore the life of boxing’s greatest symbol, Ali.

Director: William Klein
Cast: Muhammad Ali, Sonny Liston, Angelo Dundee, Jack Nilon, Chris Dundee, Finlay Campbell, James X, Malcolm X, Jersey Joe Walcott, Jimmy Braddock, Floyd Patterson, Norman Mailer, Stepin Fetchit, Sam X, George Foreman, Don King, Mobutu Sese Seko, Joe Frazier, John Daly, George Barry Bingham, Joe Bostic, Drew Bundini Brown, W.L. Lyons Brown, J.D. Stetson Coleman, William Cutchins, Gordon Davidson, Bill Faversham, Evil Eye Finkel, Robert Goulet, George Harrison

I didn’t want to write about this documentary, but reading the only other commentary that says it is not a 100% satisfying movie, I’d like to say my word. Yes, there is no fighting. Well quite : a few is shown as still photography : William Klein is one of the greatest photo-reporters of the 20th century, I guess he didn’t use his “motion picture camera” during the fights, I guess the reasons are, then, professional : Klein’s still pictures made his living, I’m not sure that his films did. Anyways : no fight ? Sure. This was not the point anyways. William Klein was fascinating by the rise of the black-american consciensiousness during the 60s and the 70s. He followed Elridge Cleaver (Black Panthers), Little Richard, and of Course Cassius Clay/Mohamed Ali. This is not quick documentary, Klein takes time to get things. Just picture the southern white “owners” of Cassius Clay explaining the boxer is nothing without their support, and one telling : “my mother’s family name was Clay, maybe Cassius Clay’s grandparents were owned by mine”… This is great cinema, and when Clay becomes Mohammed Ali and turns his back to his managers, no one is surprised, this is the story of a lot of black americans. It is rare to watch a documentary that really has something to tell. This one does. Don’t miss it.
~ jean-no

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IMDB

DVD9 | VIDEO_TS | PAL | 4:3 | 720×576 | 5800 kbps | 7.6Gb
Audio: English AC3 2.0 @ 384 Kbps | Subtitles: French
02:00:00 | France | Documentary, Sport

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