A feature-length documentary about the rise & fall of Chicago’s Maxwell Street, the birthplace of the electric, urban blues, which became rock & roll.
Narrated by actor, Joe Mantegna, this Emmy Award-winning saga details the history of this unique, ethnic melting pot “where the only color that mattered was green” and cooperation was essential for the survival of the diverse immigrants and poor poeple who landed there. Considered both the “Ellis Island of the midwest” and “the New Orleans of the north”, this was the birthplace of the electric, urban blues, which became rock & roll.
This film features the last recorded interview of Bo Diddley, one of the creators of rock & roll who developed his skills playing there. Despite Maxwell Street’s great impact on Chicago and the world of music, no formal history had ever been assembled until Ranstrom made this film, which was over 10 years in the making. Chicago Tribune writer, Rick Kogan, who was voted Chicago’s Best Reporter in 1999 and inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame in 2003 called the film “one of the most remarkable pieces of work I’ve ever seen”.
Excerpts from Rick Kogan’s interview with Phil Ranstrom about his documentary, Cheat You Fair