UserpicKing: A Filmed Record (FILM REVIEW)
Posted by Kam Williams

King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis

Film Review by Kam Williams


Oscar-Nominated, 1970 Documentary Chronicling Career of Dr. Martin Luther King Returns to Theaters

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person. Four days later, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the recently-ordained minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church decided to organize a boycott of the city’s buses.

“When the history books are written in the future,” he predicted that evening that “somebody will have to say, ‘There lived a race of people, of black people, who had the moral courage to stand up for their rights.’” After citing both the Constitution and the Bible as the source of inspiration, the 26 year-old pastor explained to the congregation that embracing a philosophy of non-violent resistance was critical in order to be able to live with white people as brothers “when the day comes that segregation is completely crumbled.”

And with that, the Civil Rights Movement was launched. A wave of Ku Klux Klan bombings simultaneously ensued, but Dr. King remained confident about his prospects for success, even after his own home had been blown up. He did hope, however, that future generations would appreciate “that these new privileges did not come without somebody suffering for them.”

The most powerful, cinematic reminder of those many sacrifices is King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis. Produced by Ely Landau and associate Richard Kaplan, this poignant account of Dr. King’s tireless crusade was nominated for an Academy Award in 1971 in the Best Documentary category.

The monumental, B&W epic is a compelling collage cobbled together from a mix of newsreels and rare footage of marches, speeches, protests and arrests. This newly-restored, HD version co-produced by the Library of Congress and the Museum of Modern Art was narrated by a number of celebrities, including Harry Belafonte, James Earl Jones, Ruby Dee and Paul Newman, to name a few.

But those luminaries merely played a support role in service of the stirring story of how the Birmingham boycott blossomed into a nationwide effort to end Jim Crow segregation. Whether it’s the sit-ins, freedom rides or voter registration drives, again and again, we witness a determined people undeterred by police dogs, teargas, billy clubs, firemen’s hoses and the constant threat of state-sanctioned, vigilante attacks.

Dr. King’s followers were perhaps comforted by their charismatic leader’s mild-mannered assurances that, “Once you conquer the fear of death, you’re free.” The picture’s high points are invariably his words, whether in a letter written behind bars in a Birmingham jail, in a spellbinding speech delivered before hundreds of thousands at The March on Washington, or in a prophetic address in Memphis on the night before his assassination in 1968.

A timeless tribute to a selfless martyr who led his people to the Promised Land by holding fast to his fervent faith that their willingness to endure suffering along the way would exceed their enemies’ capacity to inflict suffering.

Excellent (4 stars)


Running time: 181 minutes

Distributor: Kino Lorber / Kino Classics

To see a trailer for King: A Filmed Record, visit:

To check local listings for theatrical screenings of King: A Filmed Record in your area, see below, or visit:


Crescent Theater Mobile AL August 28th ONLY

Hollywood Stadium 18 Huntsville AL August 28th ONLY

Mobile Stadium 18 Mobile AL August 28th ONLY


Sedona Film Society Sedona AZ August 28th ONLY

The Loft Cinema Tucson AZ August 28th ONLY


Market Street Cinema Little Rock AR August 28th ONLY

McCaine Mall Stadium 12 North Little Rock AR August 28th ONLY


L.A. Live Stadium 14 Los Angeles CA August 28th ONLY

Jack London 9 Oakland CA August 28th ONLY


Sie Film Center Denver CO August 28th ONLY

Chief Theater Steamboat Springs CO August 28th ONLY


O Cinema Miami FL August 28th ONLY

All Saints Cinema/Tallahassee Film

Society Tallahassee FL August 28 and September 1 ONLY

Waterford Lakes Stadium 2 Orlando FL August 28th ONLY

River City Marketplace St Jacksonville FL August 28th ONLY

Southland Mall Stadium 16 Miami FL August 28th ONLY


Atlantic Station Stadium Atlanta GA August 28th ONLY

Gem Theater Calhoun GA August 28th ONLY


City North Stadium 14 Chicago IL August 28th ONLY


Circle Center 9 Indianapolis IN August 28th ONLY

DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Notre Dame IN October 12th ONLY


Citiplace Stadium 11 Baton Rouge LA August 28th ONLY


Majestic Stadium 20 + IMAX Silver Spring MD August 28th ONLY


Fenway Stadium 13 & RPX Boston MA August 28th ONLY


Roxy Theatre Missoula Missoula MT September 20th – 23rd

New York

Film Forum New York NY August 28th ONLY

Cinema Arts Centre Huntington NY August 28th ONLY

North Carolina

Grande Stadium 16 Greensboro NC August 28th ONLY

North Hills Stadium Raleigh NC August 28th ONLY

Starlight Stadium 14 Charlotte NC August 28th ONLY


Circle Cinema Tulsa OK August 28th ONLY


Clinton Street Theater Portland OR August 28th ONLY


Riverview Plaza 17 Philadelphia PA August 28th ONLY

South Carolina

Columbiana Grande Stadium Columbia SC August 28th ONLY


Hollywood Stadium 27 - Nashville Nashville TN August 28th ONLY


Texas Theatre Dallas TX August 28th ONLY

Greenway Grand Palace Stadium Houston TX August 28th ONLY

Cielo Vista Stadium 18 San Antonio TX August 28th ONLY


Macarthur Center Stadium Northfolk VA August 28th ONLY

Short Pump 14 Stadium 14 Richmond VA August 28th ONLY


Grand Cinema Tacoma Tacoma WA August 28th ONLY

SIFF Cinema Seattle WA August 28th ONLY

Washington DC

Gallery Place Stadium 14 Washington DC August 28th ONLY


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