Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ali, The Man, The Moves, The Mouth, DVD

When I was a young fellow and got my first transistor radio, anybody with a set who was my age in the NY Metro area (and many who were older) listened to WABC-AM. It had lots of transmission clout so that even a cheap transistor radio in a valley like where we lived could pick up the signal clearly. And of course the station played top-20 hits then, over and over and over. But every half-hour there was five minutes of news and, in the late afternoon, there were other things, like Howard Cosell's sports show.

Back then Cassius Clay was making his first bid for the Heavyweight Championship and Cosell covered Clay's outspoken/poetic persona heavily during his show. I was fascinated with the attitude of the man, and how he expressed it. Of course I was one of many who began following the fighter, his pronouncements, his incredible moves, his conversion to Islam and renaming as Mohammad Ali, his stand against racism and the Vietnam War, imprisonment, release and his miraculous regaining of the championship title again and again before finally going down to defeat.

Ali was larger than life and a huge part of American culture. As a boomer I experienced Ali first-hand. Watching the clips of his fights now reaffirms that he was an amazing boxer, probably the greatest in modern times. We may never see his likes again.

All this is portrayed rather well in the 60 minute documentary DVD Ali: The Man, The Moves, The Mouth (MVD Visual 5396D). It has extensive documentary footage of his press conferences, interviews, fight highlights and a reasonably inclusive narrative spoken by Bert Sugar. Since I get DVDs for review I was sent this one and I am glad to have watched it. It recaptures a time from the vantage point of an important figure and does it informatively and entertainingly.

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