The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.
In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker's daughter. The decision changes their lives for ever.
Detroit, the early 1960s. Curtis Taylor, Jr., a car salesman, breaks into the music business with big dreams. He signs a trio of young women, the Dreamettes, gets them a job backing an R&B performer, James "Thunder" Early, establishes his own record label and starts wheeling and dealing. When Early flames out, Curtis makes the Dreamettes into headliners as the Dreams, but not before demoting their hefty big-voiced lead singer, Effie White, and putting the softer-voiced looker, Deena Jones, in front. Soon after, he fires Effie, sends her into a life of proud poverty, and takes Deena and the Dreams to the top. How long can Curtis stay there, and will Effie ever get her due? Written by
Cleavant Derricks won the 1982 Tony award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actor in a Musical for "Dreamgirls" for his role as soul singer James Thunder Early. See more »
The Dreams' success montage includes a picture of the trio standing on the Great Wall of China. While the U.S. and China had no diplomatic relations from 1949 to 1971 (Washington had ties with Taiwan instead), there were numerous cultural contacts between the two countries in the late 1960's, not least because China and the USSR were having strained relations and China wanted to improve relations with the U.S., and having a famous group like the Dreams in China would have been very possible. See more »
Effie Melody White:
Tell me something, Curtis. Do you think it's right to promote an amateur performer over a professional?
Curtis Taylor Jr.:
I'm not sure what this is about...
Effie Melody White:
It's about fairness, Curtis. It's about people paying their dues. Isn't that what you keep telling me? "Get in line, Effie. Wait your turn". So why am I sitting here without so much as a B-side on a 45, when an amateur like Martin Luther King Jr. gets his own freaking album? I mean, can he even sing?
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The original 1981 "Playbill" cover for the broadway version of "Dreamgirls" is displayed during the end credits just before the names of the show's broadway creators are featured. See more »
Yes there are great performances here. Unfortunately, they happen in the context of a movie that doesn't seem to have a clue what it's doing. During the first 45-60 minutes of this all the music takes place as realistic performance. Suddenly, about an hour in, the characters who, until this point, had always spoken to each other, suddenly start singing to each other. To further confuse things, a little further in, out of nowhere, they actually do about 15 minutes of sung-through dialog, then seem to drop that idea and move on to other things, such as a number that begins in a jazz club with a drummer and two electric guitars suddenly turning into a fully orchestrated piece with a massive unseen string section. On top of all this inconsistency in how the music is used, is the composers' clear inability to actually write music in the style that is supposedly being portrayed. While the first couple of pieces do sort of mimic the 1950s Motown sound, the rest of the film is just (bad) broadway show music. Then there's the pure silliness of snippets of a group doing a bad Jackson family imitation and Eddie Murphy morphing from Little Richard to James Brown to Lionel Richie. When he started channeling Stevie Wonder I couldn't help laughing out loud. This was clearly one of those films that make me appreciate how little time I have on earth and resent that I wasted two hours of it watching this film.
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