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THE CONNECTION is one of the most vital, fascinating films of the American independent world. Created by a woman director, Shirley Clarke, at a time when they were in very short supply, the film shattered stereotypes in just about every conceivable way. And yet, the film remained unseen for many years.
Shirley Clarke was a vital part of the burgeoning post-war American film movement. She was one of the first signers — and the only woman — of the New American Cinema manifesto in 1961. For her first feature film, she decided to take on a controversial play by Jack Gelber that was running off-Broadway. The Connection was a play within a play within a jazz concert. It portrayed a group of drug addicts, some of them jazz musicians, waiting in a New York loft apartment for their drug connection. A producer and a writer, meanwhile, have entered their lives to study them and write a play about them. The brilliantly written Beat dialogue was blended with jazz music written by the great pianist Freddie Redd.
Clarke changed the character of the writer to Jim Dunn, a young, preppy filmmaker out to make a name for himself by documenting the "scene." As Clarke was best friends with the hot new indie directors, she added a level of humor by poking fun at the cinema verité movement. She also chose to keep the play's one-set constriction, but she combined the French New Wave’s mobile camera with a whirling choreography of movement and jazz to create an exciting, kinetic film that was acclaimed at the Cannes International Film Festival as a masterpiece. Yet even knowing the avant garde nature of the play and her film, little could Clarke recognize the furor the film was about to create.
Although Hollywood had previously depicted drug addiction in the recent years, it was mostly of the good men gone bad scenario with tragic endings. THE CONNECTION, with the raw, graphic depiction of drug addicts that Gelber wrote for the stage, A hit at Cannes, it was promptly banned by government censor boards for indecent language and a struggle ensued to have it theatrically screened in the United States. After a two-year battle, the producers and director ultimately won in court and as important as it was judicially, it was sadly a case of too little too late as the film lost its timeliness and failed at the box office. But among filmmakers, it was highly influential. The film has been out of distribution since the early 1980s.
Arthur Ornitz's black-and-white cinematography sparkles on the screen, and the performances of Freddie Redd and saxophone legend Jackie McLean sound impeccable in the new UCLA restoration. The release of THE CONNECTION is one of the cinema events of the year!
The Connection Home Movies (B&W, 6:27.)
A Conversation with Albert Brenner. (4:35 minutes.)
Connecting with Freddie Redd (27 minutes.)
The Connection-Behind The Scenes. (5:50 minutes.)
The Connection trailer (1:36 minutes)
Carl and Max at the Chelsea (04:11 minutes.)
Two 45rpm songs: Who Killed Cock Robin and I’m in Love
One of the bonus features listed on the box cover was a 29-minute radio interview. Due to the poor quality of the sound (and the fact that it didn't really pertain to THE CONNECTION, it was left off at the last minute. However! you can now listen to it for free on our Vimeo site.
Listen to Wendy Clarke, Garry Goodrow and Milestone's Dennis Doros talking about THE CONNECTION on WNYC's Leonard Opate Show!
An Explanation of Home, Classroom, and Public Performance Rights
US and Canadian nonprofit educational institutions that wish to show a film publicly outside of a scheduled class need to purchase DVDs, DVD-Rs, and Blu-rays at the institutional rate — which grants 3-year in-house streaming rights and an on-site public performance license. This in-house streaming license is for a term of three years from the date of purchase and grants the purchasing institution the right to stream over a single secure server with a password-protected connection. Streaming access must be strictly limited to currently enrolled students, faculty, and staff. Streaming rights extensions can be negotiated with Milestone after the initial three-year term has lapsed. Milestone retains the right to terminate this agreement at any time. No broadcast, Internet or other rights are granted or implied. These rights are for on-site use only per the license agreement.
Similarly, US and Canadian nonprofit educational institutions that wish to show a film publicly outside of a scheduled class via Milestone’s streaming site must contact Milestone to arrange a separate public performance license. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
US and Canadian nonprofit educational institutions that wish to screen a DVD, DVD-R, or Blu-ray they already own in an open showing must purchase a public performance license. For more information, please email email@example.com.
The purchase of DVDs, DVD-Rs, and Blu-rays at the institutional rate by anyone outside of a North American non-profit educational institution does not grant rights for public performance or streaming.
Any continuous or loop screenings as part of a museum exhibition must also be licensed separately. Inquiries must be negotiated directly with Milestone by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information for Exhibitors Screening DCPs and Film Prints
All bookings must be made by phone or email correspondence with Amy Heller (201.767.3117 or email@example.com) to negotiate terms and insure a screening copy is available. An order is only finalized when Milestone sends a written confirmation.
DCPs are shipped insured for their cost via Federal Express or UPS and must be returned the same way or by an equivalent method. Shipping and handling charges for outgoing DCPs appear on your invoice. The immediate return or transshipment (as directed) of all DCPs is your responsibility.
DCPs should be returned to:
Milestone Film & Video
38 George Street
Harrington Park, New Jersey 07640-0128
35mm and 16mm prints are shipped insured for their cost via Federal Express or UPS and must be returned the same way or by an equivalent method. Please do not ship prints back via US Mail. Exhibitor pays to ship both ways. Shipping and handling charges for outgoing prints appear on your invoice. The immediate return of all prints is your responsibility.
Prints should be returned insured for $1,000 to:
Attn: Milestone Account
235 Main Street
Little Falls, NJ 07424
For public screenings, advertising materials can be requested by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Milestone is the exclusive licensor for all the titles in this catalog, all of which are available here in their complete versions.