A Poem Is a Naked Person

Director: Les Blank
Year Released: 1974
Rating: 3.0

Rarely-screened full-length documentary by Blank about Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell (and his friends, including Willie Nelson and George Jones) shot around Russell's recording studio in Oklahoma - it was hung up in legal hell because Russell (the producer) didn't like the completed project. His concerns about it are certainly understandable - it is more about the director than it is him (it's a wee bit more 'style than substance') as Blank is indeed fancy free with his digressions (there's a snake that eats a chicken, a building that gets turned to rubble and a man who chews on glass), but the other side of that story is that Russell didn't like being interviewed so Blank decided to improvise and go free-form. Either way, it's a notable time capsule with some wonderful music (Blank draws comparisons between Russell's style and gospel music) and Herzogian moments ... New Weird America in all its shaggy, drug-addled splendor.