Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll (1987)
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Critic Reviews for Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll
Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll is as long and unwieldy as its title, but it's probably the most revealing look we'll ever get of its subject, and the most loving evocation of his music.
This portrait of Mr. Berry is downbeat, and in some ways incomplete; it's very different from what might have been expected. But in its own way, Mr. Hackford's film is revealing.
What one misses most of all are some glimpses of the earlier Chuck Berry, when the intensity of his music and his jackrabbit moves had more satanic majesty; too much of this film shows him at half-throttle.
It's a great concert, but it's also a fascinating character study.
The film works on two levels: as a portrait of a private, bitter and streetwise man, and as a major musical talent performing with obvious delight.
Audience Reviews for Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll
Great true-to-life documentary about Chuck Berry's concert life and his 60th birthday St Louis celebration. I'm slightly annoyed by his unpolished guitar talents but his songs have withstood the test of time - a mark of influential songwriting. Clapton, Richards, Lennon and the other celebrity interviews are funny - the performing guests even tease 60-year-old Chuck and his half-assed attitude. In the film, Berry plays terribly over dozens of tracks while his celebrity-studded backup band carries him through. I admire his songwriting skills, but I'd rather listen through the performances with Berry's guitar backline muted.
The highlights are definitely the concert scenes; guest spots from Keith Richards, Julian Lennon and Clapton make for a surreal but fun show. Everything else is interesting and shot well but Chuck doesn't seem to want anyone to get past the surface.
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