7.9/10
2,133
40 user 34 critic

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988)

Not Rated | | Short, Music | 30 April 1988 (USA)
Karen Carpenter's battle with anorexia nervosa and the cultural influence of the Carpenters in the 70s.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Merrill Gruver ...
Karen (voice)
...
Richard (voice)
Melissa Brown ...
Mother (voice)
...
Dad / Mr. A&M (voice)
Nannie Doyle ...
Cherry Boone (voice)
Cynthia Schneider ...
Dionne Warwick (voice)
Larry Kole ...
Announcer (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joanne Barrett
Gwen Kraus ...
Narrator (voice)
Michelle Manenti
Moira McCarty
...
Himself - President of the United States (archive footage)
Celia Pearce
...
Himself - President of the United States (archive footage)
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Storyline

Karen and Richard Carpenter are young musicians living with their parents in Downey, California. Richard shows great promise as a songwriter and Karen, who plays drums, begins to sing vocals, thrusting the duo into stardom. They become wildly successful, Karen's striking voice and Richard's soft melodies capturing the essence of the nation's yearning for calm after the turbulent Sixties. But Karen strives for perfection and becomes increasingly fearful of her weight, despite being a slender woman. Eventually she is diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, a mental disease relating to stress, lack of control, and low self-esteem. A fight for Karen's life ensues. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 April 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Суперзвезда: История Карен Карпентер  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was pulled from circulation in 1990, after a cease-and-desist order for unauthorized use of the Carpenters' music. As of 2016, sale or distribution of the film remains illegal. Hundreds of bootleg copies have been sold. See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence, as the camera rounds the corner on its way into Karen's bedroom, a crew member is visible at the end of the hallway. See more »

Quotes

Mr. A&M: Who else has heard this tape?
Richard: RCA, Columbia, uh Dekka.
Mr. A&M: And they all turned you down?
Karen: They said it wouldn't sell.
Richard: That hard rock's in.
Karen: And wholesome's out.
Mr. A&M: What's your name?
Karen: Me? Karen.
Mr. A&M: Karen, I like your voice. Tell you the truth, I think you kids have really got something here. Karen and Richard Carpenter, just a couple of kids next door. Now listen to me, you kids are young, fresh, and it'll just be up to me to make young and fresh a happening thing. I know it's a rough road out there and the ...
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User Reviews

Brilliance and barbie dolls

I found out about this movie in the 50 greatest cult films issue of Entertainment Weekly. It sounded like a funny, semi-serious biography of Karen Carpenter, whose music I do happen to enjoy. When I finally watched it, I realized that the movie was a very serious and in depth look at anorexia. It's haunting, brilliant, moving, and touching. I had never seen the life of an anorexic person played out so well as by that barbie doll. It's a shame that this film has not been widely distributed, because it's a darn fine movie that is very educational.


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