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Bird

film poster by Bill Gold
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Produced by Clint Eastwood
Written by Joel Oliansky
Starring Forest Whitaker
Diane Venora
Music by Lennie Niehaus
Cinematography Jack N. Green
Editing by Joel Cox
Studio Malpaso Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) September 30, 1988
Running time 161 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Bird is a 1988 American biographical film, produced and directed by Clint Eastwood with the screenplay written by Joel Oliansky. The film is a tribute to the life and music of jazz saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker. It is constructed as a collage of scenes from Parker's life, from his childhood in Kansas City, through his marriage to Chan Richardson, to his early death at the age of thirty-four.

Contents

Cast

Production

In the 1970s, Parker's friend and colleague Teddy Edwards shared his reminiscences of the saxophonist to Oliansky, who had wanted to make a biopic about Charlie Parker starring actor Richard Pryor.[1] The property was originally owned by Columbia Pictures, which traded the rights to Warner Bros. at Eastwood's instigation, in exchange for the rights to what would become Columbia's 1990 Kevin Costner vehicle, Revenge.[2] There was a delay of a few years while the trade was completed, and by then Pryor had lost interest. The film was eventually shot in 52 days for $14.4 million dollars, not counting Eastwood's fee,[3] although in interviews Eastwood sometimes said the film only cost $9.1 million to make.[2]

Reception

Bird received positive reviews from critics, scoring 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. Forest Whitaker's performance as Parker earned him the Best Actor award at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival[4] and a Golden Globe nomination. In addition, the film also won an Academy Award for Best Sound.

Music

Initially, when Columbia owned the project, the studio executives wanted to hire musicians to re-record all of Parker's music, largely because most of the original recordings were in mono, and considered of insufficient sound quality to accompany a feature film. Eastwood had some recordings of Parker made by Parker's wife, Chan, from which he had a sound engineer electronically isolate Parker's solos. Contemporary musicians such as Ray Brown, Walter Davis, Jr., Ron Carter, Barry Harris and Red Rodney were then hired to record backing tracks on modern sound equipment. Dizzy Gillespie was on tour at the time of recording, so trumpet player Jon Faddis was hired to record his parts.[2]

References

  1. ^ Interview with Teddy Edwards on ArtistInterviews
  2. ^ a b c Pavlović, Milan (Fall 1988). "Kein Popcorn-Film (Not a Popcorn Film)". steadycam (10): 18–20.  
  3. ^ Biskind, Peter (April 1993). "Any Which Way He Can". Premiere (New York City: Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.): 52–60.  
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Bird". festival-cannes.com. http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/archives/ficheFilm/id/316/year/1988.html. Retrieved 2009-07-25.  

External links

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