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|The troubled life and career of the jazz musician, charlie bird parker.|
Editor's NoteCharlie "Bird" Parker had been a hero of Clint Eastwood's since childhood, and Eastwood, having been disappointed in such jazz biopics as YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN, really wanted to make a true jazz fan's movie about the music. He cast Forest Whitaker as Parker, the legendary alto sax player, and Diane Venora as Chan, Parker's wife. The film shows how Parker, a genius who changed the face of modern music, was hampered and eventually destroyed by his appetite for women, food, and drugs. The two leads do a great job giving a recognizable human face to the characters' complex relationship. With wit and warmth, BIRD tells the story in direct and honest terms, avoiding all sentimentality. Eastwood's love of Parker's music comes across in the tremendous care that he and composer Lennie Niehaus took with reconstructing it, using Parker's original solos. Eastwood and cinematographer Jack N. Green also patterned the dark, moody look of the film after old photos of musicians who used to appear in jazz magazines. Music lovers will be thrilled with the result, and movie lovers will find plenty to engage them in this moving tale of a great man battling his demons.
Cast & Crew
|Clint Eastwood - Director|
Plot SummaryDirector Clint Eastwood indulges his lifelong passion for jazz with this dark, brooding interpretation of the life of revolutionary bebop saxophonist Charlie "Yardbird" Parker. Starting with Parker's early years, when he used to sneak into Kansas City clubs to listen to Count Basie's band, the film moves through the many ups and downs of Parker's troubled but brilliant career--which ended all too soon. The doctor who examined Parker soon after his death estimated that the musician was somewhere between 50 and 60 years old; he was actually only 34 when he died.