*** Official "STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN" Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ken_McAlinden, Nov 11, 2002.

  1. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I was fortunate enough to see the Detroit premiere of the documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" on Sunday November 10. The documentary tells the story of the "Funk Brothers", essentially the Motown studio band from the 60s and early 70s.

    One might think that there would be an air of bitterness surrounding a film about a bunch of musicians who were kept out of the spotlight and never given the recognition they deserved for 30 or so years, but that is never the case. While there are moments of sadness and poignance as their stories unfold, it becomes evident that the film is really a celebration of what they accomplished.

    As they recount the stories and history, the film is intercut with performances from a recently staged concert at the Royal Oak Music Theater with surviving Funk Brothers supporting various singers such as Joan Osborne, Gerald Levert, Ben Harper, Chaka Khan, Bootsy Collins, and Montell Jordan on some classic Motown songs. Meshell Ndegeocello sings both at this concert and on a remake of "You Really Got a Hold on Me" recorded in "The Snakepit", the studio floor at Motown's original home on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, now part of the Motown Historical Museum.

    A few of the stories told by the surviving Funk Brothers are supplemented by staged re-enactments played over the voices of the musicians telling the story.

    Most of the footage is shot by director Paul Justman and his crew on film, but there are occasionally bits of archival footage from video and other sources included as well. One example is an interview shot in black and white with the late Robert White recorded before financing for the film had been secured. Sadly, Mr. White, who played the signature guitar lick on The Temptations' "My Girl" died before the film was completed. Two more of the Funk Brothers featured in the film have passed on in the last 6 months, drummer Richard "Pistol" Allen and Keyboardist Johnny Griffith. Griffith died the morning of the Detroit premiere, which made the film that much more poignant and bittersweet for those in attendance.

    The film is remarkable not just because of its fascinating true story, but also because that story has remained untold for so long. The plentiful performance footage provides more entertainment for your dollar than you normally would expect from a talking heads documentary, and the band is phenomenal. This one is worth seeking out if it is playing anywhere near you when it opens this Friday.

    Regards,
     
  2. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Agreed; I saw this at the Boston Film Festival a couple months ago and I can't wait for it to open back up in Boston on Friday. One of the best films you'll see this year - the audience was breaking into applause midway through the movie.
    EDIT: Here's a link to my original review in the alterna-thread (I posted a darn-near-identical review on AICN under the name "Paul Revere"). I can't say my enthusiasm for the film has decreased any in the intervening two months.
    Also, the soundtrack has been available since late September; the only thing preventing me from having picked it up is the super-deluxe 2CD version Justman & Slutsky said would be released this month.
     
  3. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  4. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Ah, I guess that's changed since then. Well, dang, I'm all over that CD when I make my weekly Best Buy trip tomorrow. [​IMG]
    I'm glad to see Artisan is going to try and give this movie a push beyond the usual documentary release. I try to be pretty stingy with the [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] rating; Standing In The Shadows Of Motown is one of only four (so far) this year.
     
  5. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Just a reminder - Standing In The Shadows Of Motown opens in several cities today. If you live in or near these cities, just remember that each day you allow to pass without seeing this film is a day you're less happy than you might be.
     
  6. Jason Whyte

    Jason Whyte Screenwriter

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    And neither of those cities are Victoria or Vancouver this weekend. How typical for Alliance Atlantis! [​IMG]
    That Other Jason
     
  7. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Alliance/Atlantis has it in Canada, huh? It's Artisan in the US; I don't recall any A/A logos on it.
     
  8. Jason Whyte

    Jason Whyte Screenwriter

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    It's just who distributes them up here. All Artisan (and USA Films) product goes through Odeon Films, but they're owned by Alliance Atlantis (and they have the same phone number on my distributor contact list, AND the same press site, too!), hence why I said them.
    The only alterations that I would see is an Odeon sticker on the poster, and a quick Odeon Films logo before the film starts with the Artisan logo. Oddly enough, when I saw Bowling for Columbine, the film starts out with an Odeon logo, THEN a Alliance Atlantis log, THEN the American United Artists logo. Crazy. [​IMG]
    Jason
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Hell, I live in central Michigan and the film isn't playing around here. I'm really looking forward to this documentary since I grew up on Motown music and visited the original studio more than a few times.




    Crawdaddy
     
  10. Mark McLeod

    Mark McLeod Second Unit

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  11. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    If you are interested in digital projection, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" is also being shown digitally in 25 theaters. This is the pilot for Microsoft's/BMW's "Digital Cinema Series" and will pair the film with one of the BMW short films from "The Hire" series at these showings.

    Regards,
     
  12. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    I can't wait to see the film in my area. After hearing the story, I guess I was disappointed in not hearing any mention of the Motown girl group, the Adantes.

    For those not familiar with that group, they did the backing vocals on a majority of the Motown hits. They even did backing for the Supremes songs at various times. Because they never received any label credit, they are likely never to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

    Motown had the Funk Brothers and the Adantes
    Atlantic had Booker T. And The MGs and the Cookies
     
  13. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    The film focuses primarily on musicians rather than singers (background or lead). The Andantes are heard on most of the big Four Tops hits produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland. Those female voices singing the sustained three-part "ahhhhs" on Bernadette are them.
    Prominent among the background singers for the concert sequences in the film is Carla Benson, who was something of a secret weapon in her own right on all of those great Philadelphia records from the 70s featuring the MFSB team.
    Maybe they will make a "Standing in the Shadows of Philly" movie some day, too. [​IMG]
    Regards,
     
  14. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Well, it looks like I'm going to have to make a quick trip to Metro Detroit in order to see this film, since it's still not playing in central Michigan.[​IMG] I'll probably scoot down 75 to AMC 30 in Sterling Heights this coming week.
    Crawdaddy
     
  15. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    After seeing the film, I'm sorry to hear that Pistol and Griffith passed away recently. This is a film that made me want to know those guys; they feel like old friends that have had glorious days with the audience. The crowd that I saw the movie with bursts into cheers after some of the songs, and that joy of music and creativity is priceless.
     
  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    What a great film and one that I will see again in the theater. The dvd and soundtrack are mine once they come out next year. Here's an interesting article about the film.
    Crawdaddy
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "Standing in the Shadows of Motown". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.
    All HTF member film reviews of "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" should be posted to the Official Review Thread.
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
    Crawdaddy
     
  18. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    This film was supposed to open in my neck of the woods this Thanksgiving weekend. But it ain't here yet. [​IMG]
    I'm looking forward to it though.
    ~Edwin
     

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