Kino Lorber Acquires Rights To "King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery To Memphis;" Restored For Spring 2012 Release

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 16, 2012 10:33 PM
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Kino Lorber has acquisition worldwide rights to the acclaimed and seminal documentary King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery To Memphis (1970).

Produced for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation by Ely Landau, the film is an epic document of the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., from the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott to his assassination in 1968.

Both a historiography of the non-violent, civil rights movement and a portrait of the movement's inspiring leader, KING is comprised of original footage captured during those turbulent years. "The events are allowed to speak for themselves," wrote The New York Times' Ellen Holly. "The roar of police motorcycles, bombs, burning crosses, ambulances, gospel, shouts, the massed crowds before the Lincoln Memorial at the 1963 March on Washington, and, most thrilling of all, the speeches of the man himself."

Without any voice-over narration, KING uses contemporary film/newsreel and video/television footage to brilliantly convey the boiling indignation of an oppressed people and their revolutionary organizing. Juxtaposed over this footage are dramatic readings by actors Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Ben Gazzara, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, Anthony Quinn, Clarence Williams III and Joanne Woodward. These sections were co-directed by Sydney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

The 3-hour documentary premiered as a special "one-time-only event" on March 24, 1970 in over 600 theaters throughout the United States. A shorter version of the film was subsequently made available to TV stations across the world, but the original, unedited, three-hour version of the film has rarely been shown in recent years.

King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery To Memphis was nominated for the an Academy Award (in the Best Documentary category) in 1970, and was also being selected by the United States Library of Congress in 1999 for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Following a series of special theatrical screenings throughout the country (from a new restored 35MM print), Kino Lorber will release the film to the educational market via its educational division, Kino Lorber Edu, before making it available to other platforms, such as the DVD/Blu-ray market and VOD (created from the new print).

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