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The Night James Brown Saved Boston

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

On April 4, 1968, the leader of the nonviolent resistance movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis. On April 5, 1968, James Brown sang, and the city of Boston didnt burn down. The Night James Brown Saved Boston tells the story of the pivotal role that James Brown, and that particular concert, played in the political, social and cultural history of the country, focusing on 1968, a defining year for America. Using actual performance footage and the personal recollections of James Browns band members, friends like activist Reverend Al Sharpton, personal manager Charles Bobbitt, Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West, Boston citizens, those who attended the concert, politicians (such as former Boston Mayor Kevin White) and Newsweeks David Gates, The Night James Brown Saved Boston tells the compelling story of an artist at the absolute peak of his powers using his artistry for the greater good.


Bonus Features:

* Extensive additional interviews footage.

* Panel discussion at Boston premiere of the film.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: James Brown
  • Directors: David Leaf
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 10 SPOT
  • DVD Release Date: January 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 175 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001L2ZSJY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,844 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eddie Landsberg VINE VOICE on October 2, 2009
Format: DVD
Though footage of the legendary concert (mostly copies of copies of copies) have been floating around for ages, it is only recently that its been commercially released.

The back drop: 1968, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King...
Countless American Cities are burning...
The question: How can the powers that be get as many people as possible to stay home and possibly pass up on the big riot?

The answer: James Brown, the hottest performer in show business to cool down one of the most explosive situations in the city's history... So public TV station WGBH decides to televise a special concert at the Boston Garden asking everyone to stay home...

This documentary features talking heads such as Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Cornel West, Rep. Alan Young, legendary Boston DJ James "Early" Byrd, the Mayor of Boston (at the time) and plenty of footage of JB from the era when he was busting out dance moves that literally seemed to defy the laws of gravity (I'm not joking...) Also includes intersting JB footage... and interesting commentary (especially by Rev. Al Sharpton and JB manager Charles Bobbitt on how JB didn't necessarily agree with all of MLK's ideas about pacifism and the Viet Naam war, but how he respected him greatly... It also includes some incredible behind the scenes commentary...

Though I've seen a lot of the footage together, the documentary still is incredibly insightful and a great companion to the actual performance - - really though, it should have been issued as a companion to the documentary, not a separate purchase...
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Format: DVD
Interesting documentary about the true story of the nights following Martin Luther King's assassination, where many of the cities in America were in turmoil with riots and looting. But in Boston, things were quiet, in large part due to Mayor Kevin White's decision to broadcast James Brown's show at the Garden live on PBS that night. Some cynics say it was just to keep the black residents away from the white area of North Station, and that might be partly true, but I think for the most part the intentions were good (and it worked). Good documentary pointing out everything from how James insisted on reimbursement ($50k) to the fact that PBS had never done a live rock band before, and wasn't even sure how to mic and mix it!
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This video was very informative from an historical perspective! I learned a lot about Dr. Martin Luther King Murder, and the surrounding facts that caused James Brown to be involved! The music was very outstanding! This video reflected how really talented and skilled James Brown was! He really impacted the Black Community that most articles never mentioned! What an wonderful role model!
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April 5, 1968. Martin Luther King assasinated the day before. Riots in over 100 American cities. Scheduled for a concert in Boston Garden that night: James Brown. Should the concert be held? Would anyone show up? What if we televise it? Can we? Would Mr. Brown allow it? Will any station broadcast it?
This film documents the times leading up to the events of April 5th, and the things that happened afterwards. Throughout this remarkable film is the music and the presence of James Brown, Soul Brother #1.
If you want music, there's a lot here. If you want history, there's a lot here. This is an amazing film that Everyone should see at least once in their lives.
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Format: Amazon Video
Anyone ever notice that it is always the voices that preach peace, love, progress, and equality that are cut down by an assassin's bullet? This quite excellent film is a great demonstration and examination of race relations in the northern states during the 60's. The Civil Rights Movement was on balance a success in that equality amongst races in the US (at least in the eyes of the law) was ensured and secured by legislation and judicial decisions. With that said, we have to ask ourselves, at what cost?
The country lost a generation of dynamic, intelligent, and inspirational leaders by violent insidious actions. What help could/would they all have been in the class war that commenced a decade or so later? I digress...
The film, should have been called "Mayor White's Courageous Act: How PBS and James Brown soothed Boston after tragic day" or something to that effect... That said, the working title probably made it a bit easier to raise funds for the film. In any case, it offers great insight in to the "enlightened north" during the civil rights movement, and explains that although big cities and northern states were more progressive that the downright backward ex-confederacy, not all was well in terms of race relations. Even in Cosmopolitan Boston, white apprehension and prejudice was alive and well in a good portion of the population. Thank goodness those bloody backward times are in the past...
Now all we need is to find Class Warriors like the murdered civil rights advocates of days past that will fight fiscal inequality like MLK, RFK, Malcom X etc. fought racial inequality...
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