Wattstax-Special Edition

Directed By: Mel Stuart

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Great Blast from the Past

on 3/30/2009

This DVD is excellent. I reccomend this for anyone who is interested in looking back at grassroots in the 70's. The music is fabulous and there are many faces that we still see in media today. HIGHLY recommended. Read More

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Product Overview

On August 20 1972 more than 100 000 people attended what came to be known as The Black Woodstock. Wattstax - The Special Edition is the 30th anniversary release of the film that documented that historic event and includes the once-lost original ending featuring Isaac Hayes performances of Theme From Shaft and Soulsville. Running Time: 103 min. Format: DVD MOVIE. Genre: MUSIC DVD. Rating: NR. Age: 085393499723. UPC: 085393499723. Manufacturer No: 34997


Studio Warner
SKU 40245005
UPC 085393499723
UPC 14 00085393499723
Format DVD
Release Date 1/10/2006
Essential Cinema
Soul Music
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note Director Mel Stuart battled for years to get the clearance to release this film on video. Lucky for us, because even today, it is an incredibly moving portrait of a community coming together in the aftermath of the violent Watts riots. The emotion conveyed in the music and subjects of the film culminate in a revealing portrait of a strong African American community that resonates today.^The film centers on the Watts Summer Festival concert at the Los Angeles Coliseum in August, 1972. Unique performances from Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas, The Bar-Kays, and a host of others, are intercut with interviews with Watts's residents. Some of the residents are celebrities and future celebrities, such as Richard Pryor well before he became famous, and THE LOVE BOAT'S Ted Lange. The film captures not only the sound and sentiment of a community, but depicts a rare panorama of 1970s Los Angeles. WATTSTAX is an electric, enlightening, and unforgettable cultural time capsule.
Plot Summary
Summary Originally released in 1973, WATTSTAX is a musical and cultural artifact that pays tribute to the Watts riots, which ravaged Los Angeles for six days beginning August 11, 1965. The film's main focus is the Watts Summer Festival's 1972 concert held at the Los Angeles Coliseum, featuring performances by Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, The Staple Singers, The Bar-Kays, Luther Ingram, and a host of other soul singers. Concert footage is intercut with interviews of African-Americans, who discuss the state of black America in the early 1970s, as well as the effects the riots had on Los Angeles and America at large.^Mel Stuart, most famous for helming 1971's WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, maintains an objective point-of-view, allowing the film's subjects to reveal insights as the concert unfolds throughout the course of a long day. Highlights include the unforgettable performance of Rufus Thomas, and Richard Pryor, whose tireless energy keeps the film crew in hysterics throughout his interview. WATTSTAX is a documentary that works on a variety of levels--entertaining, enlightening, engaging--in order to paint a portrait of the black race at a crucial time in American history.
Rolling Stone "[T]his 1972 concert a the Los Angeles Coliseum was arguably more remarkable than its hippie predecessor." 09/30/2004 p.196
Film Comment "It's a testament to the music, a mix of funk, gospel, and soul, that the prevailing mood is one of devotion, compassion, and hope, which Stuart captures in full." 09/30/2004 p.79
Entertainment Weekly "[Y]ou are getting a great concert film and a decent slice-of-African-American-life doc for the price of one." 09/17/2004 p. 58
USA Today "This is more than just a concert film; it's a retrospective commemoration of the 1965 Watts riots, punctuated by a gut-busting Richard Pryor, just beginning his tenure as the funniest man alive." 09/17/2004 p.13E
Mel Stuart
Name Hayes,Isaac
Link Search Link
Cast & Crew
Al Bell - Executive Producer
Albert King - Featuring
Isaac Hayes - Featuring
Jaems Alexander - Featuring
Jesse Jackson - Featuring
Mavis Staples - Featuring
Mel Stuart - Director
Mel Stuart - Producer
Richard Pryor - Featuring
Technical Info
Original Release Date 1973
Catalog ID 34997
UPC 00085393499723
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 144 minutes
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Audio Tracks English [CC], English
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  1.85:1
DVD, Widescreen
Product Attributes
Actor Hayes,Isaac
Label Warner Home Video
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Desson Howe, Washington Post The result is a time capsule par excellence...This is the best of times and the worst of times, African American style.

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Great Blast from the Past on Mar 30, 2009