April 6, 2019 Subject:
Dickey on the Cusp of His Celebrity
TomGSmith's review is excellent and comprehensive, so I'll not try to compete with it; however, I want to point out that it's fascinating to hear Dickey briefly mention (just past the 29-minute mark of the film) that he has "a novel coming out." Of course he's referring to "Deliverance," the work that would make him famous. Oddly, there was no record of this film in IMDb, so I created one. See https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10140488/
April 30, 2018 Subject:
A Gem of a film
Filmmaker Stan Croner (1927-2008) was one of the most exceptionally literate academic filmmakers of his time. For a decade he headed Encyclopedia Britannica Film's west coast unit, overseeing the production of scores elegant films. Lord, Let Me Die But Not Die Out, is a film he made himself in 1970. It is perhaps the one that he was most satisfied to have directed. I highly recommend it.
The film is a portrait of eccentric modern American poet James Dickey (1923-1997). Dickey was gifted yet flawed artist. He was a natural writer, and a deep thinker. He was also an excessive performer and drinker. His popularity exploded shortly after the making of this documentary with the release of his novel "Deliverance." The book was made into a popular film in which he plays the role of a southern sheriff.
This documentary shot by Croner's small film crew, follows the poet for a month in the fall of 1969. We see the poet lecturing, visiting a fellow poet, singing as he accompanies himself on the guitar and quietly attempting to hunt using a crossbow. In one scene, Dickey and poet Robert Lowell discuss their nighttime dreams and wonder what they might mean. In the course of the film, Dickey reads his newly written autobiographical poem, "Looking for The Buckhead Boys". Simply to hear this reading is reward enough to see this outstanding film. He also reads several other loquacious poems that spill off the screen.
I am delighted to find that Lord, Let Me Die But Not Die Out, has been digitized by A/V Geeks and is available through the Internet. I hope that word-of-mouth will make it a popular download. Because there is absolutely no promotion for films such as this on the Internet, viewers either have to fall on them by accident or hear from someone else that it is online. If you like it as I do, be sure to pass on the word to others.