Entertainment

The documentary What's My Name is the latest about the Greatest, and one of the best


Best Documentary Oscar winner When We Were Kings zooms in on one specific fight and the politics surrounding it, 1974’s “Rumble In The Jungle” pitting Ali against George Foreman.


There’s no voice-over, no talking heads, and no new interview footage whatsoever, which frees this 165-minute film—delivered by HBO, for no clear reason, in two parts that will air back to back—to let Ali and his history speak for themselves.


But if he had only been an overly confident loudmouth, his legend wouldn’t have grown as it did: It wasn’t long into his career that Ali took a turn toward activism, befriending Malcolm X and joining the Nation of Islam.


Along with the bouts themselves, interviews abound, from Dick Cavett to smaller shows to those incredible press conferences in which Ali rarely failed to jump from his chair and smack-talk his opponent.


When Terrell tauntingly refers to Ali as Cassius Clay—his birth name, which he changed after converting to Islam—Ali calls him an Uncle Tom, and tells the cameras that he’s going to “whip him until he says Muhammad Ali.” It’s from their fight that What’s My Name takes its name.


By stripping most of the standard documentary crutches from his version of the story, Fuqua lays it all bare, and the resulting portrait is vividly detailed even as it’s understandably incomplete.






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