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JACK JOHNSON

USA, 1970 (MIFF 1985)

Director: William Cayden

"I'm Jack Johnson,

I'm black, they never let me forget it

I'm black alright

I'll never let them forget it"

A documentary biography, previously unscreened in Australia, of the first black heavyweight world boxing champion - a fascinating combination of stills, clips, newsreel footage, all supplemented by a classic Miles Davis.

Johnson's life is more twisted, strange and epic than most contemporary fiction. The film is a carefully constructed chronology, ending with his death in 1946.

”Through extensive and superbly rehabilitated early film of Johnson's fights and social hob-nobbing, including an extraordinary 1911 motor race between Johnson and Barney Oldfield, Jacobs' elegant film succeeds in conveying not only the might and Muhammad Ali-style charisma of Johnson the prizefighter, but also the ambivalence of a white American public, confronted with a superhero who is inconveniently black.”

- Clyde Jeavons, David Meeker

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