Today: July 16, 2024

A Man Called Adam

Sammy Davis Jr. is perhaps better known today as a member of the Rat Pack, whose members included the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. On-screen he was often cast as the wise-cracker, but in real life he worked tirelessly in support of racial equality, often finding himself on the receiving end of threats as a result of his activism.

In A Man Called Adam, Davis pins his politics firmly on his sleeve, as a hard-drinking jazz musician whose life begins to turn around when he meets a straight-talking civil rights activist (Cicely Tyson). 

Directed by Leo Pennfather of SeanA Man Called Adam film features a predominantly black cast in an era when black actors were rarely cast, and even more rarely cast as believable, three-dimensional characters.

Davis does sterling work, adding fire to a film that may, to modern audiences, seem slow and overly ponderous. Louis Armstrong makes a rare acting appearance as Tyson’s grandfather and, as would be expected, he also does the business musically, with dazzling performances of Back O’ Town Blues and All That Jazz.

As a drama, A Man Called Adam is a tough viewing experience. Adam is a good man—and a talented musician—pitted against a system designed to chew him up and spit him out. There are no solutions or happy endings. It’s also film that casts the ‘60s into sharp relief and tells you in no uncertain terms that, no, it wasn’t all peace and free love. For all that, A Man Called Adam is well worth watching, if only to see how far society has changed—and how far it still needs to. 

StudioCanal’s new release is fully restored with commentaries from jazz expert, Jumoke Fashola, and film historian Sergio Mims.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

Previous Story

WIN The Criterion Edition of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me on Blu-ray!

Next Story

WIN! Dream Horse on DVD!

Latest from Blog

Memory

Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

The Conversation Unboxing

Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece of paranoia The Conversation celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and StudioCanal are marking the occasion with this utterly beautiful Limited Edition 4K UHD Blu-ray release that even

Halo Season Two Unboxing

While the Halo TV series continues to be controversial with longtime ‘fans’ of the franchise for petty reasons, this year’s explosive second season certainly marked an improvement over the first. With better

Inside Out 2

Pixar’s output has for a while now been a little hit and miss. For every amazing Soul there was an underwhelming Lightyear. Returning to previous successes has also been a mixed bag

Forrest Gump Anniversary Steelbook Unboxing

2024 sees the Academy Award-winning Forrest Gump celebrating its 30th anniversary. That’s 30 years of “Run, Forrest, run!” and “Life is like a box of chocolates…”. 30 years of that bench. How

Fire Country Season One Unboxing

Looking for your next binge? Look no further than Fire Country, the thrilling and addictive firefighting procedural from CBS and Jerry Bruckheimer Television. This action-packed series is far from prestige television, but
Go toTop

Don't Miss

Blue Giant

For the last two weeks, I’ve been struggling to review

The Return Of Morricone’s Magic

Ennio Morricone was the king of the iconic soundtrack. From