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The Josephine Baker Story (1991)

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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 »

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Count Giuseppe Pepito Abatino
...
Jo Bouillon
...
Sidney Williams
...
...
Sidney Bechet (as Kene Holliday)
Vivian Bonnell ...
Josephine's Mother
Mayah McCoy ...
Josephine -Age 8
Ainslie Currie ...
Josephine - Age 13
Pierre Magny ...
Poul Colin
Franco Britt ...
Victor (as Franco Iiriti)
George Faison ...
Emcee in Harlem Club
Robert Lesser ...
Copa City Manager
Luis Reyes ...
Josephine's Father
Vivienne Eytle ...
Josephine's Sister
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Storyline

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 circuit, success takes Josephine to Paris where her semi-nude dancing causes an international sensation. Through her marriages to an Italian pseudo-count and orchestra leader, to her bond with army officer Sydney Williams, Josephine's life is a roller coaster ride of love and rejection from both her lovers and her country. But semi-nude, or head-to-toes in sequins; in battle fatigues or rags - her beauty and ambition ensured that Josephine Baker will always be remembered as the first, and possibly most loved, truly international star. Written by HBO Home Video

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Before Madonna. Before Marilyn. There was Josephine.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

16 March 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Josephine-Baker-Story  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert De Niro was considered for the role of Giuseppe Pepito Abatino. See more »

Quotes

Josephine's Mother: [after being told they must use the hotel's back entrance] Like the man said: "It ain't no disgrace being a negro, but it sure is inconvenient at times."
Josephine Baker: Now I know I'm home.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Live! with Kelly: Episode dated 6 March 1991 (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

La Petite Tonkinoise
Music by Vincent Scotto
Lyrics by Henri Christiné
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User Reviews

 
Well intentioned
27 January 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is certainly a well-intentioned movie, and the star, Lynn Whitfield, certainly gives a very moving performance. Much of the movie focuses on Baker's career after the War, where she becomes involved in the civil rights movement. It's very well-meaning, certainly, but not the part of her life and career that interests me, so I found that that part of the movie dragged. Her years in Paris as a performer in the 1920s and 30s get short shrift, and that's a shame, because it's what made a star of her.

The movie takes its particular stance on how Baker saw her early Paris performances. While it's an interesting interpretation - very sincere - I don't know how accurate it is. The one aspect of Baker's performances that doesn't get developed in this movie is her role as a comedian. In certain ways, she was something of a Black Fanny Brice. Something of that comes through her early newsreels, but it's missing from the way Ms. Whitfield was directed to portray Baker.

In the end, for me, this amounted to a very fine performance by Whitfield. But how accurate a depiction of Baker it provided, at least for her early years as a successful performer, I don't know.


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