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"MC5: A True Testimonial" Coming? Be Patient, Be Patient.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by dance_hall_keeper, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. dance_hall_keeper

    dance_hall_keeper Forum Resident Thread Starter

    From i94 bar dot com:

    After a few false starts and 16 years after being stopped in its tracks by court action, the long-stalled documentary "MC5: A True Testimonial" is showing signs of coming back to life.

    The film tells the story of the MC5. In 2004 - after rave reviews on the festival circuit and on the eve of its commrcial release - filmmakers David C Thomas and Laurel Legier were taken to court by former Five guitarist Wayne Kramer over a claim he had been promised to be the film's musical producer. In March 2007, a court ruled in favour of Legler and Thomas, and the decision was upheld on appeal.

    But the damage had already been done. Media preview copies had been widely bootlegged, and securing musical rights to make a commercial release viable proved problematic.

    In March this year, a Twitter account with the handle @MC5movie shuddered into life. We now understand there are fresh plans to re-launch the film into movie theatres, digitally and in deluxe physical format...with a caveat: Be patient.

    After looking for possible posts to add to this brilliant thread, I came across the above article.

    For those not familiar with MC5: A True Testimonial, here is a link to the entry at Wikipedia.

    MC5: A True Testimonial promotional
    poster from eons ago.

    I've not seen it in any way, shape or form. However, after reading a great book about the history of the band and then reading this story my interest in it has been piqued, to say the least.

    A very great band deserves a very great film documenting their rise and subsequent fall in the history of both music and in life. Their music lives on to this very day!

  2. Echoes71

    Echoes71 Forum Resident

    Many years ago, when the film was originally held up, I received a “promotional” DVD of the film. It is an amazing documentary and a testament to what a force they were.

    Of course, much of the live footage from the film has since shown up on YouTube, so the effect might not be quite the same as seeing those performances back when the film was supposed to come out.

    Still, I’m very excited to hear the film may finally get a release.
    TheLoveDrags and BadJack like this.
  3. stepeanut

    stepeanut King of the North

    I only saw it one time, maybe 16 years ago, at an art gallery in New Orleans, LA. John Sinclair came along to present the film and engage in a Q&A session afterward. There was talk, right up until the last minute, that they wouldn’t be able to screen the film due to ongoing legal issues, but they did show it in the end.

    My friend Andy, a long-time MC5 fan and journalist, worked on the film as a researcher. Not sure if he has an account here or not.
  4. john hp

    john hp Forum Resident

    Warwickshire, UK
    I seem to remember contributing to an Indiegogo campaign many years ago and then hearing nothing more; but I did eventually get to see it when it was briefly posted on YouTube in 2016
  5. citizensmurf

    citizensmurf Ain't but the one way.

    I also recall watching it on YT years ago. I assumed it was already out. I would love to see it again on my big screen.
    R. Totale likes this.
  6. I have an "unofficial" copy of the film, and would buy it in a second if it gets a long-overdue release. One of those rare works that lives up to the hype, any release should be accompanied by a "Making and release of" doc that lays out the story of why it took so damn long to officially see the light.
  7. egebamyasi

    egebamyasi Forum Resident

    Worcester, MA
    I have a "copy" of this on DVD I bought years ago and never watched it. I may have to check it out.
  8. Avenging Robot

    Avenging Robot Forum Resident

    I might have seen this movie. If I did, I would say it's excellent and worth seeing. Let's hope it gets the official release it deserves.
  9. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    I got an unofficial DVD of this years ago and highly recommend it, it is a tremendous film. If they finally release it officially, I'll purchase it instantly. Kramer is all over that film, it's tragic that they couldn't come to an agreement with him for so many years. I hope that an official release might be expanded or have some additional live footage.
    Chris M and kevinsponge like this.
  10. Andrew J

    Andrew J Forum Resident

    South East England
    Good to know. The decision for legal injunction was a massive own goal on the part of Mr Kramer.
  11. Platterpus

    Platterpus Forum Resident

    This and The Seeds documentary are high on my to watch list.
    BadJack and Chris M like this.
  12. ralphb

    ralphb "First they came for..."

    Brooklyn, New York
    I have one too, and it absolutely lives up to the hype. Granted, as said , now that even more live footage from Wayne State is up on You Tube some of the "wow" factor is gone (maybe it can be included as a bonus?), but it is one of the best documentaries on a band I've ever seen and it's about time this gets an official release.
    Echoes71 and dkmonroe like this.
  13. I was thinking along the same lines - a complete as possible set of the Wayne State footage would be a more than worthy set on its own, but combined with the doc...:drool:
    ralphb likes this.
  14. ralphb

    ralphb "First they came for..."

    Brooklyn, New York
    Wayne Kramer is the one who put up the best quality version of that footage on You Tube. Can't believe there isn't more.
    Dudley Morris likes this.
  15. BroJB

    BroJB Hey man, is that FREEDOM ROCK?

    I've seen it . It's a fantastic doc, and it's a damn shame it was never released.

    There's a band that deserves to be properly immortalized, and a wide release of this would help immeasurably.
    Jimmy B. and ralphb like this.
  16. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    I think that the Wayne State footage survives by way of the Detroit Tubeworks TV show, and that what appeared as an “extra” on the unofficial DVDs is all that still exists, but I’d love to be wrong about that.

    I attended a fundraiser for this doc at The Hideout in Chicago, back when the film was still only a promo trailer and a dream. When the release of the finished film was cancelled, I was crushed. When the festival screener DVDs started appearing as burned copies, and I finally saw it, I considered it (as I still do) the greatest “lost” rock doc, and one of the greatest, period. I’ve made it my mission to show it to all of my music-loving friends in the intervening years.

    If it sees an official release, after all this time? Great, and long overdue.
    TheLoveDrags and ralphb like this.
  17. joelee

    joelee Senior Member

    Watch it!!
    Buddybud and Dudley Morris like this.
  18. egebamyasi

    egebamyasi Forum Resident

    Worcester, MA
    I knew there was something I needed to watch. I already forgot since I posted.
  19. BroJB

    BroJB Hey man, is that FREEDOM ROCK?

    What makes it so good isn't just all the cool footage. It's a really well constructed documentary and artfully made. Not the usual parade of talking heads, but a well-edited and fast-paced film that captures the essence of what the band really was.

    For me, the MC5 is a band that future generations of music fans will rediscover and celebrate, much like Big Star or the Velvet Underground has been. They're that important to the development of punk, hard rock and metal. And the availability of this doc would really help make that happen.
  20. munjeet

    munjeet Forum Resident

    Absolutely. I think it’s actually a testimonial to how great the film is that they were able to tell the story so well a) with relatively little live footage, compared to a lot of other groups’ feature-length docs, and b) on a pretty tight budget.

    It really shows the greatness of the band, and how compelling their story was. I think it was Dennis Thompson who said in the film something like that every town needs an MC5. Now more than ever, that holds true.

    I only wish there was more interview footage with Tyner and Sonic, but you gotta use what exists. The film is a great tribute to R. Tyner, Sonic and Michael Davis.
  21. dance_hall_keeper

    dance_hall_keeper Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Send it to me!

    This. He should be maintaining the great legacy left by the 5, not trying to undermine it and simply being remembered as only one-fifth of MC5.
    Andrew J and TheLoveDrags like this.
  22. Devotional

    Devotional Forum Resident

    Oslo, Norway
    Love that scene when Dennis is just itching to get back on stage and play "in that city right now". He is by far the most edgy throughout though, even drawing a rifle on the interviewer at one point. He also has some choice words for KISS' wardrobe, and his rant against Iggy/The Stooges is so non-PC that it had to be cut out of the main film (it is part of the bonus material).

    Like many of you, I was crushed when the project was cancelled, but eventually got to see a promo-copy. And it really is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen too, and some of the bonus material is fantastic - especially the live clips (most, if not all of which is available elsewhere now), and the Melvins-interview. Great to hear that the wheels are rolling again!
    ralphb and munjeet like this.
  23. Andrew J

    Andrew J Forum Resident

    South East England
    I think it was a continuation of a life-long self-sabotage streak that he has written about in his memoir, although I'm not sure if he he thinks that this is another example of it. It goes to show you can win a case, but not benefit in the slightest from doing so.
    ralphb likes this.
  24. BadJack

    BadJack doorman who always high-fives children of divorce

    Boston, MA
    Whatever happened to that Seeds doc anyway?

    Joining the chorus that "True Testimonial" is amazing and deserves to be seen by a wider audience.
  25. FredHubbard

    FredHubbard Forum Resident

    its been a while since i've seen it but isnt much of the visual live footage not synced with it's actual live audio? minor annoyance ... will need to dig out and re watch.

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