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Porgy and Bess (1959)

In this legendary Gershwin opera set among the black residents of a fishing village in 1912 South Carolina, Bess - a woman with a disreputable history - tries to break free from her brutish... See full summary »

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(play), (libretto) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Leslie Scott ...
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Ruth Attaway ...
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Detective
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Peter
Everdinne Wilson ...
Annie
Joel Fluellen ...
Earl Jackson ...
Moses LaMarr ...
Margaret Hairston ...
Lily
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Storyline

In this legendary Gershwin opera set among the black residents of a fishing village in 1912 South Carolina, Bess - a woman with a disreputable history - tries to break free from her brutish lover Crown after he becomes wanted for murder. The only person willing to overlook her past and offer her shelter is the crippled Porgy. Their relationship is threatened by the disapproval of the townspeople, the presence of her old drug supplier Sportin' Life - and the threatened return of Crown. Written by scgary66

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Gershwin Music! The Goldwyn Touch! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 June 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Porgy y Bess  »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "Morning Sounds" scene in the film's final sequence, in which street noises are heard and gradually combine to form a dance rhythm, had previously been seen on the screen in the 1932 film "Love Me Tonight", which was directed by Rouben Mamoulian, who was the original director of this "Porgy and Bess". Mamoulian had also staged the sequence in the 1927 non-musical play "Porgy", which was the basis for "Porgy and Bess", and in the original 1935 stage version of the opera, both of which he also directed. It is the only sequence directed by Mamoulian which remains in the 1959 film. Other productions of "Porgy and Bess", although retaining the song "Good Mornin' Sistuh", have not retained the "Morning Sounds" sequence because it was Mamoulian's idea, not Gershwin's. See more »

Connections

Referenced in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

O Doctor Jesus
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by DuBose Heyward
Sung by Ruth Attaway (dubbed by Inez Matthews)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This is one you never forget.
25 November 2004 | by (Houston) – See all my reviews

I saw this on television more years ago than I can remember, but never forgot the performance of Sammy Davis, Jr. I just by chance thought to look for it on video. This rendition of Porgy and Bess is a treasure. I would love to see it again and introduce my son to it as well. I just can't imagine why it is not heralded as one of the greatest performances Sammy Davis, Jr. every gave. Whoever is responsible for not bringing this to audiences should be ashamed of his/her ignorance. I will continue to look for it though. Maybe the execs responsible for such things will come to realize the forgotten work of so many African American actors.


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