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Sparkle (1976)

 -  Drama | Music  -  7 April 1976 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 893 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 17 critic

A girl group experiences turmoil after one of their members turns to drugs and another achieves their desired fame all by herself.

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Title: Sparkle (1976)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
...
Tony King ...
Beatrice Winde ...
Paul Lambert ...
Moe
Joyce Easton ...
Lee
...
Ham
Norma Miller ...
Doreen
Talya Ferro ...
Miss Taylor
Bob Delegall ...
Mr. Daniels
Armelia McQueen ...
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Storyline

Three sisters (Sister and the Sisters) from Harlem become singers. Sister (Lonette McKee) becomes involved with drugs, while Sparkle (Irene Cara) ends up being the one who gets famous. This film tells of how drugs ruin Sister's relationships and eventually end her life. It is also about the relationship between Sparkle and Stix (Philip Michael Thomas). Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 April 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blysk  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Lonette McKee. See more »

Goofs

When Stix is working in the record store, the year is 1958, but there is a 1960 Coasters LP, "One On One" that is clearly present in the front of the store. See more »

Quotes

Delores: We're old enough to iron for ourselves. You ain't our maid.
Effie: I always iron clothes for the ones that I love.
Delores: I suppose you love them crackers that you work for?
Effie: You watch your mouth. Now, go get your homework before I give you a sign in a place you won't forget.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Sparkle (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Something He Can Feel
Written by Curtis Mayfield
Performed by Lonette McKee, Irene Cara, and Dwan Smith
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Low-Budget, Pre-"Dreamgirls" Curio Has Some Good Moments and Mayfield's Music...But It's Not Nearly Enough
6 January 2007 | by (San Francisco, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

Just in time to capitalize on the long-awaited movie version of "Dreamgirls" is the DVD release of this semi-forgotten 1976 musical melodrama that also takes the rise of the Supremes as its inspiration. Released five years before the Broadway opening of "Dreamgirls" and partially set in the same period, it has a predominantly black cast and a story revolving around an up-and-coming girl group, and that's where the resemblance basically ends. Written by Joel Schumacher well before he became a big-league director of mainstream studio product ("Batman Forever", "The Phantom of the Opera"), this movie seems grittier on the surface. True to form, however, Schumacher weakens the storyline and character development by injecting an abundance of clichés and eye-rolling one-liners. With little affinity for staging musical numbers, Sam O'Steen, a highly regarded film editor but neophyte director, helms the production like a low-budget TV-movie with a frustratingly episodic structure.

The story follows three Harlem sisters - sexy Sister, self-righteous Delores and sweet Sparkle - as they sing in the church choir, meet smooth-talking but well-intentioned boys Stix and Levi, and then find their first taste of success as a singing group - first as a sweater-wearing quintet called the Hearts and then as a glitzy trio known as Sister and the Sisters. But naturally there are problems beyond the silly name for the group - Sister gets involved with nasty drug dealer Satin Struthers who beats her and turns her into a cocaine junkie; Levi goes to prison for getting caught in a drug pick-up for Satin; Stix gets frustrated by failure and unwisely turns to some Jewish mobsters for financial help; Delores just gets plain fed up; and poor little Sparkle has to decide what kind of future she wants. A big plus is that R&B great Curtis Mayfield wrote the atmospheric songs, some catchy and one, "Look Into Your Heart", a real winner.

The solid cast does its best under the contrived circumstances. Lonette McKee's valiant attempt to make Sister a tragic figure is undercut by some of the ham-fisted plot turns, including a sad Billie Holliday-like turn at the mike. Before they hit it big on primetime TV, Philip Michael Thomas and Dorian Harewood portray Stix and Levi with boyish vitality if not much credibility. The best work comes from Mary Alice in a relatively silent turn as the girls' patient mother and a pre-"Fame" Irene Cara who effortlessly exudes sincerity in the title role (though her costumer and hair stylist should be shot for the hideous look she achieves in the final scene). The DVD just comes with the original theatrical trailer complete with an unctuous voice-over by DJ Casey Kasem and a bonus CD of five of the film's songs performed not by the original cast but by Aretha Franklin off her 1976 recording of the soundtrack. It's not a terrible movie, just an interesting if lacking curio that happens to cover the same ground as "Dreamgirls".


5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
Sparkle: Pure Camp marquise_007
FAVORITE LINE FROM SPARKLE??? j-misa
anybody notice delores' absent minded hate? milly05
Mara Brock Akil To Remake Sparkle With Sony Pictures cocoalounge-1
Remake sasshole
Who's responsible for Sister's downfall? sherreward
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