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Dottie West fought a difficult childhood to rise as one of country music's icons winning the first ever Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1965. She pushed the boundaries of country music and befriended some of their greatest musical artistes. Poor management besieged her with financial problems and she was on her way to fighting them through when she was tragically killed. Written by
BIG DREAMS AND BROKEN HEARTS: THE DOTTIE WEST STORY is a 1995 TV movie biopic of country music queen Dottie West, a beloved star in the industry who was a major country star for nearly thirty years, racking up 16 Grammy nominations including the first win for a country female vocalist in 1964. Dottie's life was colorful and dramatic and was inevitable that a movie would be made of it, this one coming only four years after her death in 1991.
Michele Lee does a very good job in this highly sympathetic account of this lovely lady's often tragic life behind the beauty, glamour, and 100 watt smile. I like the fact that she is wise enough to sing West's hits "naturally", not with an affected southern accent. Her voice lacks the flavor of Dottie's often brilliant vocals but she's quite good. One thing I didn't like was the bad handling of the "Oui affair", when Dottie posed for the men's nudie magazine. The movie gives the impression is was a nude layout when in fact it was merely sexy cheesecake photos no bluer than the average photo session of Joan Collins, Farrah Fawcett, or other Hollywood glamour girls of the era. I also didn't care for the way they wrote Dottie in this scene bragging about her sex appeal which she would have never done and it's made worse by Michele's curiously husky, brash delivery of the lines that in no way suggest Dottie's actual speaking voice (or even Michele's voice in other scenes in the movie!!).
The cameos by other country stars (most all speaking directly to the camera and breaking the drama with comments about the real life of Dottie West) were expendable and rather badly done; I wouldn't have minded seeing them brought into the story but this is almost like they clipped interviews from a BIOGRAPHY episode and stuck them in the film.
Dottie deserves to be remembered not only for her great catalog of fine country music but her major part along with Joan Collins, Angie Dickinson, and Tina Turner in showing America in the 1980's that a woman can still be sexy and beautiful in her fifties. Today they call such women "cougars" but in the 1980's they had more grace, womanly softness, and were not really predatory, just ageless beauties who fascinated the country.
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