Ornette Coleman scored film screened in NY for the first time in 50 years

Who’s Crazy?, a 1965 experimental film directed by Thomas White, screened in New York City for the first time in 50 years at the Anthology Film Archives last weekend, on March 25-27.

 

The film is accompanied by a frenetic original soundtrack by Ornette Coleman. He recorded it along with the other members of his trio, double bassist David Izenon and drummer Charles Moffett, in just one take, while the film was projected for them. It also features a young Marianne Faithfull singing what are arguably her most experimental riffs, written by Coleman for the occasion.

 

While the soundtrack still exists on hard-to-find LP releases, Who’s Crazy? was thought to be lost by jazz-on-film scholars and the Library of Congress. The only surviving copy of the film was found in early 2015. It was a 35 mm copy, originally intended to screen for its premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1965. It had been resting untouched in director Thomas White’s own garage. The print was repaired by John Klacsmann, archivist at Anthology Film Archives.

 

The cast of the film consists of actors from New York’s experimental theater troupe, the Living Theater, who also performed in films by Shirley Clarke, the director of the 1984 documentary Ornette: Made in America.

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