They are the "Silver Belles," five women aged 84 to 96. They first met in the 1930's as chorus dancers at the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater where they worked 15 hour days, rehearsing a new show every week. In their heyday they performed with legendary band leaders like Cab Calloway, Jimmie Lunceford and Duke Ellington. When the big band era ended, and with it the need for show dancers, they all went into other work. In 1985 they put their tap shoes back on, and are still performing regularly. But in one week, Cleo tumbles down the subway stairs and breaks her knee and arm, Marion gets a pacemaker, and Bertye is taken to the hospital. Is this the end of the Silver Belles? Written by
Chorus girls who glittered at the Apollo Theatre at the height of the Harlem Renaissance reunite as The Silver Belles, a different sort of Chorus Line. A film as witty and stylish as its subjects, BEEN RICH ALL MY LIFE features a cast of delightfully indestructible women, who explain how they have persevered through times good and bad, retaining their sense of glamor and their sense of humor and giving audiences a great time along the way. There are melancholy notes among the scenes of joy, but in the end, they embody Stephen Sondheim's "I'm Still Here."
The film was a big hit at New York's "Dance on Film" festival.
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