Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Cassius Clay film clips right along

Cleveland Press November 12, 1970

Muhammad Ali, as he prefers to be called, is also known as Cassius Clay, hence the title of this biographical documentary "A.K.A. Cassius Clay." The A.K.A. stands for Also Known As."

The movie, put together from a bench of film clips, concentrates mostly on the boxing life of Cassius Clay from age 12 through all of his championship bouts, with forays into his joining the Black Muslims and his battle with the United States Government over his draft status.

Richard Kiley narrates the film and new footage was shot with Clay discussing his bouts with Cus D'Amato, a fight trainer. Most of the conversation between them has D'Amato upholding the virtues of past champions and Clay referring to all of them as bums.

"Joe Louis at his best and me would be no contest," Clay pronounces.

Clay's lack of modesty, which became his trademark, is included in most of those old film clips -- his loud yells of "I am the greatest" repeated in scene after scene, location after location. There is even a film of his famous invasion of Sonny Liston's training headquarters.

There is no real continuity to the movie as it jumps back and forth in time. The film clips range from excellent to awful and some of them look as though they were walked on.

The picture ends on the questioning note of whether Clay will ever be allowed to box again, a question pretty well settled in Atlanta recently. Although it tries hard to concentrate on Cassius Clay the man and to make a point about Cassius Clay the political figure, the film is likely to find most of its audience among boxing fans.