Wednesday, January 17, 2007

HAPPY 65th BIRTHDAY, CHAMP!


So, you wanna celebrate Muhammad Ali’s 65th birthday? You could turn on ESPN right now, which is featuring an all-day salute to the champ. Or you could find a copy of Ali's own attempt at a filmed autobiography, The Greatest (1977, started by Tom Gries and finished by Monte Hellman when Gries died during production). The movie is grungy and, given its dynamic subject, just a little on the dull side, a (surprise!) simplistic take on his own rise to fame and introduction to the Islamic faith. You’d do better with the Oscar-winning documentary When We Were Kings, which chronicles the events leading up to the historic Ali-Foreman clash in Kinshasha, Zaire, forever known as the Rumble in the Jungle.

But if you want a little pre-Islam Ali as you may never have seen him before (I sure hadn’t), check out this delightful minute and a half courtesy of You Tube—Cassius Clay reciting one of his signature poems to the piano accompaniment of none other than Liberace! Happy birthday, Champ!

9 comments:

Peter Nellhaus said...

Dennis: If you haven't seen it, check out William Klein's documentary on Ali that came out in 1969. I saw it when it was released under the original title Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Thanks for the tip, Peter. I'm hoping Netflix has a copy!

Kate said...

Thanks for the interesting video. Happy Birthday Champ Ali. Drop into my blog for some unique birthday gift ideas.

blaaagh said...

Awesome clip, Dennis! What a great tribute the Ali's charm.

manaotupapau said...

Totally off subject: would you consider doing open threads once in a while. I know sometimes I finally get to a movie previously discussed and would like to throw out some points about it, or the like. Maybe with open threads we could spur some different types of discussions (or continue some older ones) that present posts don't really encourage. I don't know, just a thought. (And I tried writing this before, and my sign-in failed - so if this posts twice, I'm honestly not trying to be annoying :))

blaaagh said...

Er, if I knew English better, I would have written "...tribute TO Ali's charm."

With Hammer And Tong...The LetterShaper said...

Great tribute to the man! I thouroughly enjoyed reading here! As a poet, I found it very interesting and informative...thank you!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

manaotupapau-- I think that's a great idea, especially now, during Oscar time. I'm sorry I'm getting back to it so late in the game, and I hope you do see this response. I hope to get this idea rolling this week. Thanks again for the thoughts!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Blaaagh, I owe you a phone call!

I really enjoyed seeing this silly bit of business too! It was nice to be reminded of Ali's humor.