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   2,328 votes »
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Up 31% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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:
Hopelessly Unhistoric See more (38 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:
When the film was first suggested in the late 60s Abbey Lincoln was the initial casting for the role of Billie Holiday with Diana Sands as second choice. The project was revived a few years later with Diahann Carroll as a suggested lead but after discussions between Jay Weston and director Sidney J. Furie the role was offered to Diana Ross.See more »
Quotes:
Louis McKay:[offering Billie a $20 bill] You want my arm to fall off.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Tain't Nobody's BusinessSee more »

FAQ

Midwest Premiere Happened When & Where?
See more »
28 out of 41 people found the following review useful.
Hopelessly Unhistoric, 16 March 2002
Author: gar (gar-18) from Oakland, CA

Diana Ross put in a very fine performance playing a very difficult role. Sadly, that role was not Billie Holiday and this is my big problem with this film. Any film with a musician as its subject should have loads of that musician's art. Diana Ross does sing some songs, but the MUSIC is not the focus of the film. The unhistoric life of Lady Day is: her experiences as a prostitute, her first gig, getting discovered, touring with a white band, Strange Fruit, etc. They are all thrown together into a hapless hodge-podge lacking continuity or even a semblance of a timeline. An even greater sin is that Lady Day did not develop in a vacuum as this film would have you believe. She was a vital part of the larger jazz scene of the 30s and 40s, a scene she shared on an equal footing with such giants as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, and most importantly John Hammond, the famous producer and talent scout who discovered Lady Day in a small Harlem club. None of these people appear in the film in any way, shape, or fashion. That's not just ridiculous, it's criminal. I don't know if there was a permissions problem in portraying them on film (some of them were still alive when the film was made), but their absence is sorely felt.

Amadeus is also criticized as unhistoric, which it is, but it made the best of Mozart's life by putting his music at center stage. (It also helps that the events it portrayed were in chronological order.) The same could have maybe rescued LADY SINGS THE BLUES, but the opportunity was missed. Other than Diana Ross's harrowing portrayal of a heroin addicted singer (who could have been anyone but Billie Holiday), there is nothing to recommend this movie. Go watch Ken Burns' JAZZ series instead.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (38 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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