Best Documentary Movies of 1970
An intimate look at the Woodstock Music & Art Festival held in Bethel, NY in 1969, from preparation through cleanup, with historic access to insiders, blistering concert footage, and portraits of the concertgoers; negative and positive aspects are shown, from drug use by performers to naked fans sliding in the mud, from the collapse of the fences by the unexpected hordes to the surreal arrival of National Guard helicopters with food and medical assistance for the impromptu city of 500,000.
The landmark documentary about the tragically ill-fated Rolling Stones free concert at Altamont Speedway on December 6, 1969. Only four months earlier, Woodstock defined the Love Generation; now it lay in ruins on a desolate racetrack six miles outside of San Francisco.
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
This 1970 concert documentary captures Elvis Presley midway through a fateful transition, seeking to reclaim his musical primacy after a decade of self-imposed exile from concert stages. Sidelined by his big-screen career, eclipsed by rock's mid-'60s transformations, the King had begun his return two years earlier with the relatively lean attack of his fabled network television appearance, '68 Comeback Special. Now the Memphis legend was poised to reposition his performing profile by pursuing the top rungs of headliner status in Las Vegas, a career choice that seems even more ephemeral in hindsight than it already did at the time. Elvis: That's the Way It Is follows the show's genesis from rehearsal to stage, with the performance footage that provides its inevitable climax shot over six nights. The rehearsal footage, expanded for this special edition, offers further proof that Presley's band was simply superb...
The Eye of the Storm
The very first documentary about Jane Elliott's educational experiment about discrimination, which was originally produced for ABC News, in which she conducts an unforgettable lesson with her third-grade class in Riceville, Iowa.
Filmmaker Ralph Arlyck interviews his neighbor, Sean Farrell, a 4-year-old living on San Francisco's Haight Street in 1969. Sean gives his thoughts on life in his home, a hippie crash pad, and casually mentions that he smokes pot, which caused this short film to become a national sensation.
Original Cast Album: Company
Stephen Sondheim's musical "Company" opened on Broadway in the Spring of 1970, and tradition dictates that the cast recording is done on the first Sunday after opening night. D.A. Pennebaker, the now-legendary documentarian, filmed the production of the original cast recording, the back and forth between Sondheim and the performers, and the dynamic of trying to record live performance. The film climaxes with Elaine Stritch's performance of "The Ladies Who Lunch". The show won 6 Tony Awards including "Best Musical" and ran for two years on Broadway. A plan to make a series of "Original Cast Album" films never materialized.
Black Roots is the fourth feature-length film produced and directed by American independent filmmaker Lionel Rogosin. The film gathers a number of African American folk and blues musicians in a room, where they share stories and songs about the black experience in America.
Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther
The portrait of Eldridge Cleaver, the "Minister of Information" for the Black Panthers movement, in exile in Algiers.
King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis
A 1970 American documentary film biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., presented in the form of newsreel footage and segments of recordings by Dr. King, framed by celebrity narrators, including Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Ruby Dee, James Earl Jones, Clarence Williams III, Burt Lancaster, Ben Gazzara, Charlton Heston, Harry Belafonte, The movie was produced by Richard Kaplan and Ely Landau.
Bukowski at Bellevue
In the spring of 1970 Charles Bukowski took his first plane trip for a poetry reading at Bellevue Community College in Washington state. That he was videotaped by two students apparently was later forgotten, but the tapes were recently rediscovered and have been released by Black Sparrow press. "Bukowski at Bellevue" gives us a fascinating glimpse of the man before he had to be concerned with how celebrity and financial security were affecting him. (It is said that this was only his fourth public reading.) This is Bukowski, then about 50, taken straight. No games, no irony, no self-consciousness--just an ordinary-looking guy, maybe hung over, sitting before a small group of students reading his work with gusto, humor and sensitivity. A man who clearly had lived the marginal life he wrote about with passion and at times a lyrical, even mystical beauty.