Kasper Collin's fine documentary, I CALLED HIM MORGAN, is the title character, a jazz trumpeter named Lee Morgan. We hear his music and can easily determine how talented he was (very) but his character, his personality, his quirks and all the rest are barely there. Instead, we come much closer to the two important women in Morgan's life: Judith Johnson, still alive, who fills us in on her role as the "other woman," and Helen Morgan, Lee's common-law wife, who rescued the drug-addicted guy from the gutter, nourished him, loved him, and then shot him dead. (If you're expecting "The Helen Morgan Story," you'll be getting something quite different from those starring Polly Bergen or Ann Blyth.)
Dizzy Gillespie, with whom Morgan began his career. All of this makes the movie a must for jazz lovers, and for anyone who might want to take a time trip back to the the USA, the South, and then New York City in the 1960s and 70s.
Miles Davis did not appreciate the appellation of jazz to the kind of music either of them wrote and performed.)
Larry Reni Thomas in 1996, as well as another with Val Wilmer in Helen's Bronx apartment back in 1971 -- we learn of Helen's life as child: given up by her mother to be raised by her grandparents, then leaving at a very young age for the "big city."
That city was, first, Wilmington, North Carolina, and then finally New York.
FilmRise and Submarine Deluxe, the documentary opens tomorrow, Friday, March 24, in New York City at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and on Friday, March 31, at NYC's Metrograph and in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Monica Film Center and elsewhere. Click here to view all currently scheduled playdates, with cities and theaters listed.