Richard O Moore / no certificate / 60 mins / USA (1963)

Showing Times

"In the spring of 1963, a white filmmaker and poet named Richard O. Moore followed James Baldwin around San Francisco as Baldwin interviewed black residents about their lives. The resulting documentary, Take This Hammer, is a crucial precursor and supplement to later films about Baldwin’s life and work, including Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, from 2016. Whereas Peck’s film offers a powerful, probing, and career-spanning synthesis of Baldwin’s ideas and activities, Take This Hammer is local, immersive, and immediate. Baldwin, who didn’t know the city well, travels through it by car and on foot, guided by the social-services executive Orville Luster, speaking at length with Luster and the people he meets in San Francisco’s predominantly black neighborhoods. Interspersed throughout his tour of the city are clips of Baldwin delivering an on-camera monologue, filmed against a plain background (in the director’s home). In Take This Hammer, Baldwin creates a deep, passionate cross-sectional analysis of the lives of black Americans during the struggle for civil rights and amid the endurance of Jim Crow." Richard  Brody, The New Yorker

I Am Not Your Negro, which we took the chance to view again last week, so powerfully presented the incisive intelligence, articulacy and  advocacy of Baldwin.  We are pleased to be able to offer the chance to view this important early documentary, presented here in its full length.  (The version that was shown on US television had 14 minutes cut from it.)

Click here to view Take This Hammer in full, for free


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