Lord Thing (1970, DeWitt Beall)

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LORD THING (1970, DeWitt Beall, 16mm., Color, Sound, 52 min.; found in Chicago Film Archives’ DeWitt Beall Collection http://www.chicagofilmarchives.org/collections/index.php/Detail/Object/Show/object_id/11422)

Produced at the height of the black power movement in the early ‘70s, LORD THING is an insider history into the genesis and transformation of the Conservative Vice Lords gang, one of Chicago's oldest street gangs. Partially shaped and told by by CVL members who also appear in the film, LORD THING is a unique and powerful tool that expresses an effort in self-transformation during a volatile and violent time in US race history. Gritty and rhythmic, this unusual film reflects an under-told chapter in gang history as members from the West Side neighborhood of North Lawndale try to become viable and political agents in their community. LORD THING won a silver medal at the 1970 Venice Film Festival.

Just a couple of years ago only one muddy VHS copy of the historical film, LORD THING, could be found. Our colleague on the east coast, Buckey Grimm, did some research for CFA and found the film elements in California under the care of the director’s widow, Elina Katsioula-Beall. Little-known today, DeWitt Beall was a filmmaker who seemed to work independently from other documentary filmmakers of the time. His films grapple with social justice issues as well as the conservation of our natural world.

In 2012, the National Film Preservation Foundation awarded CFA a grant to preserve LORD THING. A new print was struck from original 16mm elements. This is a transfer of this 16mm restoration.

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Published 3 months ago

Category Video  /  General

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