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18 March 2010

Ray Charles Plays Archangel & Sax In Limit Up (1989)

Clipping from Jet, 30 October 1989.
Director Rich Martini:
"My film is about a runner at the Chicago Board of Trade (Nancy Allen, Robocop) who sells her soul to the devil (Danitra Vance) to be a successful soybean trader. Her boss (Dean Stockwell) tries to thwart her, her boyfriend (Brad Hall) tries to help her, and his boss (Rance Howard) pitches in. Ray Charles plays God*, a sax player who stands in front of the CBOT, and depending if you tip him or not, that's how well you're going to do that day. Its subplot is ending world hunger through manipulating soybean prices."
* Ray's character is called Julius. In publicity materials I saw, his role is labeled as "archangel Julius".

VHS: Limit up. MCEG 0970449925, 1989.

With Nancy Allen.
Rich Martini informed me that Ray's character was based on a guy he saw outside the Board of Trade who played the sax and wore shades.
With Danitra Vance.
"Ray said 'I can play, I'll play the sax'. So that's him playing. In the scene where Sally Kellerman is singing, it was part of an overall tune that John Tesh recorded, so he replaced Ray so it was in tune. But otherwise, that's Ray on saxophone. [...] Ray outside was recorded on set, we only had him 3 days. Inside is not Ray, just the last few notes which oddly were in the same key as the score. Ray just improvised. if you hear a sax with no other music, that's Ray, the rest revoiced."
"We improvised the scene where he claims to have 'seen' Nike, but we had to put [Ray's] lines in Braille and he taped it to his leg so he could 'read' them. That's why Ray always rubbed his legs when playing or sitting at the piano; he was reading his dialog."
It's unclear to me if Ray's theme was formally composed and if it had a title (but if it did, The River Charles would be a good candidate).


The whole movie (director's cut):


  1. You can watch the full movie here:

    Thank you very much for creating this blog.

  2. Thnx! Long live the soybean pit;-!