Based on the novel by Gloria Naylor, which deals with several strong-willed women who live in a rundown housing project on Brewster Place in an unidentified eastern city; across three ... See full summary »
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker was born poor, but achieved fame and fortune through her sizzlingly exotic and erotic performances. Starting life on the American Vaudeville ... See full summary »
The Jacksons are your average working-class family in Gary, Indiana; but when their father discovers the kids have an extraordinary musical talent they form a band. Winning talent show ... See full summary »
Holly Robinson Peete
The story of Little Richard Penniman, from his poor Southern upbringing to dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a black singer in the 1950s, to his born-again phase and brief "retirement" from rock and roll.
A plantation owner's son falls in love with a slave named Easter and together they have a Mixed race daughter named Queen. As Queen grows up, she faces the struggle of trying to fit into ... See full summary »
This biography of Dorothy Dandridge follows her career through early days on the club circuit with her sister to her turn in movies, including becoming the first black actress to win a Best... See full summary »
Klaus Maria Brandauer
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
John Calley was running Warner Bros. at the time and said Sam O'Steen had to direct the film. He was the infamous editor of Carnal Knowledge (1971), Rosemary's Baby (1968), and Chinatown (1974). See more »
The film begins in 1958. But when Stix gets to work at the record store, there is a copy of The Coasters' "One By One" album, an album that was released in 1960. See more »
[Effie comes in and hears a hallway door close]
Delores? Is that you?
[coming in the front room with a suitcase]
Where you going?
I'm leaving, Mama.
You're leaving for where?
I'm leaving and I'm going away.
What do you mean?
I mean... I can't live like this anymore, Mama. I gotta find another way.
Well, whatever troubles you got here
[...] See more »
Unpleasant and short on plot but well done, good music
In 1950s Harlem, Effie is raising three teenage daughters and working as a maid on Long Island, for people she calls by the name of a Nabisco product I won't use. Sparkle likes Stix, who sings with an all-male R & B group and wants to work in the recording industry. Sparkle and her sisters want to sing too, and eventually they join the group, which is called The Hearts. The emcee who first introduces them (some of you may know him as Fred Sanford's friend Bubba) messes that up.
Stix feels an all-girl group would work better. Sister and the Sisters turns out to be a big hit with local audiences. They have potential to hit the big time. But this means dealing with some unsavory characters. Levi is nice but he works for the charming but cruel Satin, who hits his jealous girlfriend in his first scene.
Whether the girl group will succeed depends a lot on how they adapt to the temptations provided by the show business world. Sister is the prettiest and apparently the oldest, and the lead singer. So then why is the movie called "Sparkle"? You'll find out.
This wasn't a feel-good movie by any means, though parts of it were nice. But most of the leading performers did a good job with their roles, even if more time was devoted to music than advancing the plot. And the musical performances were superior and explored a variety of styles from Doo-Wop to Motown to restaurant jazz and down-and-dirty jazz. We even had two scenes in church, one with upbeat old-time black gospel, and one with slow, passionate funeral music.
What makes the movie worthwhile is that it shows making it in show business can be next to impossible, with many obstacles requiring determination to overcome, along with the ability to resist what can end it all.
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