7.9/10
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Lackawanna Blues (2005)

PG-13 | | Drama, Music | TV Movie 12 February 2005
In a story fueled by rhythm and blues, a young boy's life is shaped by love and the stories of a cast of characters in the boarding house where he lives in 1960s Lackawanna, New York.

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Writers:

(play), (teleplay)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 29 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Rachel "Nanny" Crosby
...
Ruben Santiago Jr. (as Marcus Franklin)
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The Bandleader (as Mos Def)
...
Alean
Bill Simms Jr. ...
Himself
...
Ol'lem Taylor
...
Pauline
...
Bill Crosby (as Terrance Dashon Howard)
...
Dick Barrymore
...
Mr. Lucious
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Bertha
...
Freddie Cobbs
...
Ulysses Ford
...
Ruben Santiago Sr.
...
Laura's Mother
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Storyline

In the 1950s and 1960s, Ruben Santiago-Hudson Jr. lives in a lively boardinghouse in the blue-collar town of Lackawanna, New York, with his father after his parents separate. Run by the motherly Nanny Crosby and her taciturn husband, the boardinghouse residents, including The Bandleader, singer Pauline and cabaret owner Dick Barrymore, teach the young boy about life and art. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Play it. Sing it. Shout it. Feel it.

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 February 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Notes storgis  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ruben Santiago-Hudson insisted his daughter Lily be cast in a cameo as Laura's daughter. But his son Trey, a twin with Lily, wanted to appear in the movie as well, which Ruben accepted. In real life, the character of the abused Laura only had a daughter, not a twin daughter and son. The scene where Laura comes to Nanny's house in the middle of the night with her son and daughter after leaving her abusive husband is accurately re-created word-for-word as Ruben remembered from that night. See more »

Goofs

During the club scenes during the 1950s, there are a number of 45 rpm singles hanging on the walls. One is a Columbia Records single with the 1970s design and logo. See more »

Quotes

Rachel "Nanny" Crosby: [about Bill's chauvinistic remark] I see his lips movin' and I don't feel nuthin' but a breeze.
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Connections

Featured in 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

High Heel Sneakers
Written by Tommy Tucker (as Robert Higginbotham)
Performed by Tommy Tucker
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A slice of life
13 February 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

The main reason for watching this picture is to savor the brilliant performance of S. Ephata Merkerson. Ms. Merkerson dominates this film with her tremendous presence as Nanny, the woman who believes in doing good, no matter to whom, with no strings attached. This actress clearly shows a range that is amazing.

Thanks to director George Wolf for bringing this distinguished cast of some of the best Black Americans actors together. This ensemble group under his tight direction help create the right atmosphere in which the action takes place.

Of course, none of this would have been possible if Ruben Santiago Hudson hadn't written his wonderful play. Working with Mr. Wolf, perhaps the best theater director of this generation, they have opened the play in a way that it evokes that not too distant past where a child lives under the influence of Ms. Crosby, when his own parents are not around to take care of him. Ms. Crosby becomes the adoring mother of little Ruben; in a way, he represents her reward for having lost her own daughter.

Unfortunately, there is no time to develop some of the characters, as the action solely concentrates in enhancing the relationship between Nanny and the young Ruben, played with such charm by the young Marcus Carl Franklin, who is a natural. The only thing that could have been done differently was the voice over narration that is at times intrusive, as it doesn't clarify, or justify what one is seeing. Frankly, just by watching the interaction of the players, is self explanatory.

In the background there is always music. No matter what hard times these people are going through, but Nanny's house is full of laughter and that glorious music that takes us back to that era.

Aside from Ms. Merkerson, other notable performances are given by Terrence Dashon Howard, one of the rising stars of the moment. Mos Def, Jeffrey Wright, Marcy Gray, Louis Gossett Jr.,Delroy Lindo, Rosie Perez, Carmen Ejogo, Jimmy Smits and the rest.

Ms. S. Ephata Merkerson deserves to be seen by a wider audience. In "Lackawanna Blues", she clearly demonstrates she can do anything she wants because of her enormous talent and charisma.


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