ELLA FITZGERALD: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS
Biography – 2020 – UK/USA – 89 Minutes – Eagle Rock Productions – Unrated
Just One Of Those Things presents, through an intimate lens, Ella Fitzgerald through all of her moments of triumph and joy, delivering a clear picture of the woman Ella was both on and off the stage. Featuring never-before-seen footage, the film includes interviews with Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Norma Miler, and a rare conversation with her son, Ray Brown Jr., among others.
Known as “The First Lady Of Jazz,” Ella Fitzgerald’s sublime tone, emotive delivery, and supreme improvisatory scat vocalizations laid the groundwork for generations of vocalists. A pillar of American music history, Ella is an international icon, earning 13 Grammys and selling over 40 million albums in her six-decade spanning career. Additionally, she was awarded the NAACP Equal Justice Award, American Black Achievement Award, and several other honors for her accomplishments in both the jazz world and the civil rights movement. An inspiration for generations to come, Ella used her talent and intelligence to break down seemingly impenetrable barriers.
Just One Of Those Things examines how she developed that tenacity. Losing her mother at the age of 15, Ella endured life in abusive reform schools before escaping to the streets of Harlem, penniless and alone during The Great Depression. In 1934, she won a talent contest at the famed Apollo Theater — a moment that changed the course of her life. Within months, she was a star. Pioneering a prosperous career amidst immense racism, poverty, sexism, and body image criticism, Ella forged ahead as a female bandleader, working with such contemporaries as Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, and Benny Goodman. However, outside of the spotlight, Ella was a very private person, conflicted with reconciling her public image and hunger for adoring audiences with a longing for domestic life with her husband and son. Throughout the documentary, we follow Ella as she endures these conflicts while carving her revolutionary path in music.
Just One Of Those Things explores the resilient, humorous, and witty woman who spun her rough past into pristine musical gold.
Directed by Leslie Woodhead
“An exhilarating and superbly filmed rags to riches tale of the supreme voice of jazz” – Paul Davies, Daily Express
“Wholly engrossing” – Jazz Journal