“Duke Ellington and his all-colored orchestra put over the hot jazz – and how.” —Film Daily, 1929. Dudley Murphy collaborated with Fernand Léger on Ballet mecanique in 1924 and seasons this film with avant-garde sequences while also telling a story.
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Like St. Teresa pierced by the angel of light, Fredi Washington, electrified by the Duke's music, dances to her death in this amazing film which consistently displays an extraordinary feeling for shapes, volumetric shadows & silhouettes, a eerie deathbed tableau, replication and inversion of images, and most importantly for the jazz undergirding it all like some telluric heartbeat.