Mick LaSalle – San Francisco Chronicle
“A Poem Is a Naked Person,” about two years at musician Leon Russell’s Oklahoma studio, is the first feature film shot by the documentarian Les Blank, but it hasn’t been released until now. Filmed between 1972 and 1974, it was held up in legal and creative conflicts for more than 40 years. Now it comes to theaters as a curiosity, its moment long past.
The four intervening decades work against the film in most ways — yet work for it in a few others. In essence, the real audience for this are Leon Russell aficionados, of which there are fewer today than in 1974. The movie makes something of a case for him, in that he is quite a good piano player, with absolute command of the blues, country and rock idioms, but there isn’t enough here to make someone a fan who isn’t already interested.