Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser


Biography / Documentary / Music

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 83%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 86%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 1224

Plot summary

November 06, 2022 at 09:37 AM


Charlotte Zwerin

Top cast

Samuel E. Wright as Narrator
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
819.06 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 29 min
P/S ...
1.49 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 29 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ccthemovieman-1 7 / 10

More Of A Concert Than A Documentary, But That's Fine

This is a documentary but almost a straight concert, featuring jazz pianist who performed mainly in the 1950s and 1960s and is a legend in music circles.

I say "concert" because there is as much music, if not more, than dialog. Most of the tunes are excerpts from various much-longer numbers he did. Most of them are performed by Monk but some are done by other musicians. The coverage is in black-and-white and well done. Photography-wise, I particularly enjoyed the closeups of Monk's face as he performed. He wasn't the most articulate man so perhaps that is why this is more concert than documentary. He acted as if he were stoned most of the time. I don't know his history so I can't comment further on that topic.

Not being a jazz fan, I can't appreciate his music as others would, but I'm being honest.....and I still enjoyed watching this even though I own only a half dozen jazz CDs. I imagine those who love jazz would have to own this. It's nice that it's available now on disc.

Reviewed by srfotog 10 / 10


Thelonious Monk is the most important musician ever produced by this country. He is the greatest composer and the most influential musician of the jazz era. This movie is so incredible because I had not been lucky enough to have seen him before he died, and when I saw the movie I was moved to tears. No one in the movie actually admits he was schizophrenic, but it seems pretty obvious and to me, makes him even more of a genius--that he could write and perform despite his disability. It shows the deep devotion of his wife Nellie, and others who helped him, and finally, how he sank into his illness before he died. Thank you so much, Charlotte Zwerin, for making this paean to Monk. When people are still listening to him hundreds of years from now, they can see him in your wonderful movie.

Reviewed by mjneu59 7 / 10

the title itself is a good summary of the film

The facts in the life of the virtuoso jazz pianist are somewhat neglected in favor of the music itself, with most of the film devoted to various live performances and rare, behind-the-stage rehearsal footage. The latter scenes give this otherwise straightforward portrait its most revealing moments, showing how complex and exacting the work of jazz composition and arrangement can be. Biographical details are filled in by friends and family but never probed in depth: was Monk, for example, actually suffering some form of mental illness, or was his peculiar behavior merely the pose of an eccentric artist? If for no one else the film is a must for jazz fans and musicians (it was produced by Clint Eastwood).

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