The San Francisco Arts Commission also assisted with producing this event. Forgot your password? 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. ", 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. . 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. Please enter your email address and we will email you a new password. The liberal can’t be safe and heroic, too. Regal The person who made the connection with Baldwin possible was Mary Ann Pollard. In the years after her mother and eight other members of the Emanuel A.M.E. Church were murdered by a white supremacist, Reverend Sharon Risher rose above her doubts in humanity to become an activist against gun violence. Please reference “Error Code 2121” when contacting customer service. 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. Ad Choices, What to Stream: Billy Woodberry’s Documentary About the Poet Bob Kaufman, “Shirley,” Reviewed: Josephine Decker’s Furious Melodrama of Shirley Jackson’s Life and Art, A Daughter’s Grief Over, and Forgiveness of, the Charleston Church Shooting. Sign up here. Please click the link below to receive your verification email. 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 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." One young man tells Baldwin, to the approval of others nearby, that the Birmingham protests are “over.” Baldwin disagrees, but the young man contends that civil disobedience is useless; he praises Malcolm X, calls Dr. King a “chump” for believing in nonviolence, and endorses a nationwide revolution by black people. [2], In January 2011, Moore pointed out that nearly fifteen minutes of somewhat controversial statements from kids at Hunters Point were cut from his film. 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. and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango. June 12, 2020 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. 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. [4], On February 5, 2014 there was a free public screening of Take this Hammer (the director's cut) at the Bayview Opera House on Third Street in San Francisco, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the film's first television broadcast. and the Terms and Policies, 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. It was made following complaints from the KQED Board. Cutting the sequences shifted the attention to Baldwin and away from the Black Muslims. It was McGill's Corvair station wagon that was rigged up for filming in motion. Cinemark And that's where it's at." 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. Someone's got to tell it like it is. Coming Soon, Regal We want to hear what you have to say but need to verify your email. [3], Moore also noted that there are no full credits at the end of the film. Get the freshest reviews, news, and more delivered right to your inbox! 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. 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. To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories. This was a concession that he deeply regretted. Coming Soon. Moore also discusses the difficulty that he had in getting the film broadcast, because of executives’ qualms about “the preponderance of black rage being expressed.” (Despite mandated cuts, it comes through clearly.). 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. Coming Soon. By opting to have your ticket verified for this movie, you are allowing us to check the email address associated with your Rotten Tomatoes account against an email address associated with a Fandango ticket purchase for the same movie. They felt that the lengthy sequences with young Black Muslims were excessive and that the film should not be broadcast. The percentage of Approved Tomatometer Critics who have given this movie a positive review. Take This Hammer is a documentary film produced and directed by KQED (TV)'s Richard O. Moore for National Educational Television in 1963. Those involved with the KQED Film Unit were Irving Saraf, Phil Greene, and sound engineer Hank McGill. | Fresh (1). [5] This community event was organized and co-sponsored by the Center for Political Education (CPE), the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive, the Bayview Branch of the San Francisco Public Library and POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights). “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. 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. Don’t worry, it won’t take long. They didn't have a wireless camera and recorder, but did have Irving squeezed into the trunk (the Corvair engine was in the rear) and Phil was on his stomach in the rear sharing space with a Magnasync. 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.

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