Who’s Crazy? Screen 97 of 8 reviews

Who’s Crazy?

1966

Who’s Crazy? Poster
  • In its emphasis on the collective and its idea that madness is subjective (or universal), Who's Crazy? is clearly a product of the sixties. Some will find it arch, others will love its rejection of conventions and its constant formal inventiveness, but no one will deny that it is utterly unique.

  • The cast’s tireless and improvised performance is matched by its soundtrack, courtesy of free-jazz legend Ornette Coleman. His incredible score is a masterpiece of its own. Coleman and his trio are responsible for the film’s transcendence from playful lawlessness into pure, exhilarating freedom. Frenzied saxophone and violin measures synchronize with the performers’ voices.. Coleman and the Living Theatre might be a crazy marriage but it’s a pairing one would have to be crazier to overlook.

  • A sought-after rarity among record collectors, Coleman’s soundtrack effectively brings the film’s spirit to vivid and audible life, perfectly matching the actors’ performance.

  • “Who’s Crazy?” is—well, I hesitate to use the M-word, “masterwork,” because mastery is beside the point, but it’s a cinematic thrill, an artistic achievement that deserves an honored place in the history books. The film is true to the avant-garde passions that it embodies and reflects. It gets to the very essence of movie-going and transfigures the concept.

  • In its semi-spontaneous revelry, even more than its theme, “Who’s Crazy?” expresses a kindred sense of liberation. Mr. White characterized making the film as “one of the best times I ever had.” The evidence is on the screen.

  • Rescued from the director’s dusty garage shelves, this cantankerous artifact is a crucial document of a youth gone wild by means of current events. To add to the utter madness is master Ornette Coleman’s complete raucous score of the film, complemented by Marianne Faithfull’s occasional vocals, sounding more like a dip into the darkest of Sun Ra, at one point asking, “Is God man? What is Man?”

  • While watching Who's Crazy? may prove exhausting, listening to it never does: Coleman and his musicians created the score in one sitting as the film was projected for them, leading to a sinuous, pulsating, first-responder free-jazz jam.

  • A quirky but purposeful grafting of Mack Sennett to the French New Wave. Yet It’s the soundtrack that has the staying power. Coleman, with the bassist David Izenzon and the drummer Charles Moffett, improvised much of its bracing free jazz, which isn’t always conventionally effective “movie music.” But it’s always something special, and during the second set of opening credits, Coleman is joined by Marianne Faithfull, singing the skewed ballad “Silence.” Far out, as they used to say in the ’60s.

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