IMDb > Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
Lady Sings the Blues
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Lady Sings the Blues (1972) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.1/10   2,358 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Chris Clark (screenplay)
Suzanne De Passe (screenplay)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Lady Sings the Blues on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 October 1972 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Diana Ross IS Billie Holiday See more »
Plot:
The story of the troubled life and career of the legendary Jazz singer, Billie Holiday. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Seriously flawed See more (39 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Diana Ross ... Billie Holiday

Billy Dee Williams ... Louis McKay

Richard Pryor ... Piano Man

James T. Callahan ... Reg Hanley (as James Callahan)
Paul Hampton ... Harry

Sid Melton ... Jerry
Virginia Capers ... Mama Holiday
Yvonne Fair ... Yvonne

Isabel Sanford ... The Madame
Tracee Lyles ... The Prostitute

Ned Glass ... The Agent
Milton Selzer ... The Doctor

Norman Bartold ... The Detective #1
Clay Tanner ... The Detective #2
Jester Hairston ... The Butler
Bert Kramer ... The Policeman
Paul Micale ... The Maitre d'
Michelle Aller ... The Singer
Byron Kane ... The Announcer
Barbara Minkus ... Radio Actress
Kay Lewis ... Angela DeMarco
Helen Lewis ... Debbie McGee

George Wyner ... The M.C.
Shirley Melline ... The Policewoman
Toby Russ ... The Jail Guard
Larry Duran ... Hood #1
Ernest Robinson ... Hood #2 (as Ernie Robinson)
Don McGovern ... Reporter #1 (as Don McGovern)
Dick Poston ... Reporter #2
Charles Woolf ... Reporter #3
Denise Denise ... Denise

Lynn Hamilton ... Aunt Ida
Victor Morosco ... Vic
Robert L. Gordy ... The Hawk
Harry Caesar ... The Rapist
Paulene Myers ... Mrs. Edson

Scatman Crothers ... Big Ben
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Darlene Conley
Jayne Kennedy ... Louis's Date (uncredited)
Eddie Smith ... Dean and Dean's waiter (uncredited)

Directed by
Sidney J. Furie 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Chris Clark  screenplay
Suzanne De Passe  screenplay (as Suzanne de Passe)
William Dufty  book
Billie Holiday  book
Terence McCloy  screenplay

Produced by
Brad Dexter .... producer
Berry Gordy .... executive producer
Eddie Saeta .... associate producer
Jay Weston .... producer
James S. White .... producer
 
Original Music by
Michel Legrand 
 
Cinematography by
John A. Alonzo  (as John Alonzo)
 
Film Editing by
Argyle Nelson Jr.  (as Argyle Nelson)
 
Casting by
Joe Scully 
 
Production Design by
Carl Anderson 
 
Set Decoration by
Reg Allen 
 
Costume Design by
Ray Aghayan 
Bob Mackie 
 
Makeup Department
Cherie .... hair stylist
Don Schoenfeld .... makeup supervisor
 
Production Management
Millie Moore .... post-production supervisor
Eddie Saeta .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles Washburn .... assistant director
Irby Smith .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Gene Lauritzen .... construction coordinator
Carey Harris Jr. .... swing gang (uncredited)
Bill Hudson .... greensman (uncredited)
Jack Iannarelli .... props (uncredited)
John La Salandra .... construction supervisor (uncredited)
Maurice Larson .... painter (uncredited)
Richard M. Rubin .... props (uncredited)
Fred R. Simpson Jr. .... leadman (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
David Dockendorf .... sound re-recording mixer
Bill Ford .... sound mixer
Marvin E. Lewis .... cable person (uncredited)
Don Merritt .... boom operator (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Henry Millar .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Ernest Robinson .... stunts
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Richard Hart .... gaffer
Kenneth Adams .... grip (uncredited)
Sherman Fulton .... electrician (uncredited)
Randy Glass .... best boy (uncredited)
Elisha Harris .... electrician (uncredited)
LeRoy Lydia .... grip (uncredited)
Sal Orefice .... electrician (uncredited)
Arnold L. Rich .... camera operator (uncredited)
Tom Sawyer .... dolly operator (uncredited)
Thomas Scott .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Orlando Suero .... still photographer (uncredited)
Joseph M. Wilcots .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Eddie Willis .... grip (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
Bob Cochran .... extras casting (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Elizabeth Courtney .... costumes executed by
Norma Koch .... costumes
Frank Somper .... furs
Pauline Campbell .... costumer (uncredited)
Kent James .... costumer (uncredited)
Cliff Langer .... costumer (uncredited)
Edna Taylor .... costumer (uncredited)
Joe Williams .... costumer (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Roberta Adye .... associate editor
Paul LaMastra .... assistant editor
 
Music Department
Gil Askey .... music supervisor
Ralph James Hall .... music editor
Ralph James Hall .... re-cut version
Ben Barrett .... music contractor (uncredited)
John Collins .... musician: guitar (uncredited)
June Edgerton .... music editor (uncredited)
Harry Edison .... musician: trumpet (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Gene Clinesmith .... transportation
George Alden .... mechanic (uncredited)
Edward Baken .... driver (uncredited)
James D. Brubaker .... transportation captain (uncredited)
Edward Charles .... driver (uncredited)
Dale Henry .... assistant transportation (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Janet Hubbard .... researcher
Louis McKay .... technical advisor
Lawrence Schiller .... montages
Lawrence Schiller .... title designer
Judy St. Gerard .... creative consultant
Michael Cooksey .... craft service (uncredited)
Stephen J. Fisher .... auditor (uncredited)
Terence McCloy .... dialogue coach (uncredited)
Steven P. Saeta .... assistant auditor (uncredited)
William Smith .... auditor (uncredited)
Vincent Tubbs .... unit publicist (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
144 min | West Germany:125 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, and Lola Falana were early contenders for the role of Billie Holiday before Diana Ross demanded to Motown head Berry Gordy that she land the role.See more »
Quotes:
Mrs. Edson:Ain't it a shame how some of God's children have it so easy, while others have it so hard?See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Tain't Nobody's BusinessSee more »

FAQ

Midwest Premiere Happened When & Where?
See more »
16 out of 21 people found the following review useful.
Seriously flawed, 10 February 2007
Author: rooprect from New York City

Before watching this I knew that it wouldn't be factually correct. I knew that Diana Ross would sing in her own style without trying to imitate the real Billie Holiday. And I knew that this film was hated & protested by Billie's real life associates and family. I watched it anyway expecting to enjoy it the same way I enjoyed Amadeus even though it stepped all over the real Mozart. I mean, c'mon people, if we want history we should go to a library, not a movie theatre.

But with all that said I was still horribly put off by the lack of continuity with the spirit of Billie's life. For one thing, Diana's portrayal made Billie look like a blabbering halfwit. Even in the scenes where she's supposed to be stone cold sober she acts like a flake. If you've ever seen footage of the real Billie, you know that the real Lady was a tough, sharp, smart human being. You don't survive on the streets of New York by being an idiot the way she's shown to be in the film.

Next, the performances were shown totally out of context. For example, the song "My Man" is a chilling song about spousal abuse, but in the movie they gloss it up to be a feel-good homage to her guardian angel of a husband Louis McKay. In real life, Louis was as abusive as all of her husbands (hence the song "My Man"). This is just one example of the many incorrect interpretations this movie presents of Billie's music and her life.

OK, but like I said in my 1st paragraph, I can allow the director some poetic license if the movie is worthwhile. Unfortunately this movie didn't deliver. Instead of focusing on the true hardships and trials that plagued Ms. Holiday, we get a whole bunch of clichés about drug use, trying to make it in the business, and how you're supposed to be good to your friends. I'm not sure if this was supposed to be about Billie Holiday or if it was just an ABC afterschool special with clever packaging.

The acting was good (if you choose to accept the idea of Billie Holiday being a weak minded flake), and there were several dramatic moments that were well staged. But here's my biggest gripe: the musical score KILLED this movie! It's supposed to be a 1940s jazz biopic, so why are we getting 70s "star search" orchestrations? You know, like the cheezy swelling violins and pseudo-disco drums when Ed McMahon reads the winner of the competition. Talk about an anachronism, to say nothing of the way it cheapens some otherwise powerful moments.

Lastly, I have to say that fans of Billie's music will be pretty annoyed at Diana Ross's versions. They are two totally different singers. Billie sang in a lower register (except when hitting those high notes which she always did clean & clear WITHOUT vibrato) whereas Diana prefers theatrics in the upper register and doesn't go very low at all. This is really a movie for Diana Ross fans or for casual jazz listeners who have never heard of Billie Holiday. Like another reviewer suggested, if you're truly interested in Billie, you should buy some of her records or try to find some old films of her performances. Her music is the best biography you'll ever get.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (39 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
If Diana had won the Oscar... Welch57
Not A Good Movie bbwoof2000
Is this the movie captgage-1
Song in the Beginning Emido0
Best choice in a remake of new bio GreenEggandHams
Anti-climax at the BAFTA's in 1973 Welch57
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