I Called Him Morgan

Synopsis: On a snowy night in February 1972, celebrated jazz musician Lee Morgan was shot dead by his common-law wife Helen during a gig at a club in New York City. The murder sent shockwaves through the jazz community, and the memory of the event still haunts those who knew the Morgans. This feature documentary by Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin is a love letter to two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. A film about love, jazz and America.
Director(s): Kasper Collin
Production: Kasper Collin Produktion
  1 win & 6 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
92 min


[radio announcer]

Thelonious, 1963.

Don't Blame Me,

the Criss-Cross album.

You're listening to

Blue Notes, Blue Nights,

here in New York City.

Going to be a stormy one

tonight, folks.

Nor-easter coming in.

They're saying high winds

and a heavy snowfall.

So take care of yourselves.

Now, a fresh outtake

from a forthcoming blue

note album by Lee Morgan.

He's really flying

high on this one.

[jazz music playing]

-[man] Is that Helen?



That's Lee.

Boy, they were young then.

I just couldn't believe it.

Didn't know what to think.

Because they were

both together.

They were always

the people we related to.

Both of them.

[man] The fact that he had

totaled the car that night,

came to work,

and still wasn't able to

come through the night,

was not able to get through

the night alive, you know?

I was never able to go

down that street again.

Didn't get back to New York.

I was destroyed, man.

And then, you know,

I was curious about

what happened to Helen.

And then I heard that

the police had arrested her

and taken her to jail.

And you know, I never

saw her again.

[jazz music playing]

[Larry Thomas] This is where

I first met Mrs. Helen Morgan.

At this building.

Wilson High School.

Our classroom was situated

on the first floor here,

closest to the door.

Because whenever

we had a break,

Mrs. Morgan did smoke.

My class was

a Western civilization class.

But I don't begin with

the Greeks and the Romans.

I began with the ancient

African civilizations.

So I wasn't

a "traditional teacher."

As a matter of fact, they

didn't call me Mr. Thomas.

They called me Larry.

Almost all the students

called me Larry.

And they were--most of them

were her age maybe,

or they were some of them--

I would say the youngest ones

were in their 40s.

Mrs. Morgan struck

me as a person

who wasn't that academically

sound, but she was streetwise.

Just the aura or vibe

about her was streetwise.

So as a way of introducing

myself to the class,

I would always hand

out this bio of me,

with my picture and everything,

stating that, you know,

I was a jazz radio announcer,

a little bit of background

information on who I was.

When I gave it to her,

she said, "Oh, I love jazz."

So I said, "Really?"

She said, "Oh, yeah,

by the way, my husband

was a jazz musician."

And her last name was Morgan.

And I said, "Your husband?

What was his name?"

And she said

his name was Lee.

So I said, "Lee Morgan,

the trumpet player?"

And she said,"Yeah."

And she kind of looked

at me kind of funny.

Like, you know, "You know

the story too," you know.

So I said, "Well, I want

to interview you one day."

So she said, "I don't

have to think about it."

So eventually in '96, I guess

about eight years later,

she decided that--

she called me, and said,

"Larry, you still

want the interview?"

And I said, "Yeah, of course."

So I borrowed a tape recorder,

just a regular Sony.

And I got two cassettes,

I just grabbed two cassettes.

I said, "I got to

get this interview."

You know?

And that was in February, 1996.

In March, 1996, she died.

[indistinct tape playing over

loud high pitched noise]

[ambient background

music playing]

[Helen] The country,

I never liked at all.

My mother's biggest aim was

when I was growing up

in the country,

and I had to work

on the farm,

and I had to do all of this,

that when I got big enough,

I was leaving this place.

And I was--

I was young.

And then, see,

I had kids early.

And I had my first child at 13.

Then I had another baby

right behind that.

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Kasper Collin

Kasper Collin (born November 16, 1972) is a Swedish film director, documentary filmmaker, screenwriter and film producer based in Gothenburg, Sweden. His first feature documentary was My Name Is Albert Ayler which was well received when it opened theatrically in UK and US in 2007 and 2008. Metacritic gives the film 83/100 and has awarded it the 19th best film from 2007. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a Tomatometer score of 94%.His second feature documentary I Called Him Morgan premiered September 1, 2016 at the 73rd Venice Film Festival. After Venice it went on to play Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival. I Called Him Morgan had its US theatrical premiere on March 24, 2017 and its Swedish theatrical premiere on March 31. There are 20 reviews registered at Metacritics. Eight of them are registered as 100/100 and the film has reached a metascore of 90/100. There are 44 reviews registered at Rotten Tomatoes and the Tomatometer score is 95%.On July 1, 2017 Metacritic announced I Called Him Morgan as the best reviewed movie of the first half of 2017.Indiewire listed Kasper Collin as one of nine breakthrough names to look out for at TIFF 2016.Between 2009 and 2014 Kasper Collin was one of two chairmen of the Swedish independent filmmakers' organization (Oberoende Filmares Förbund). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "I Called Him Morgan" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 27 Jul 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/i_called_him_morgan_10465>.

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