|Index||7 reviews in total|
This is a great film!
Rarely do you get to see a documentary where the subjects are actually allowed to tell their own story like this one does. Granted that the filmmaker gets to shape the film in editing but still the women portrayed here are the stars and they are worth every minute. In fact, I wish it had been longer. These women really LIVED!! Not only are their stories fascinating and amazing but the movie makes you wish you could have been in New York in the thirties and forties, running around Harlem, dancing all night long.
It also shows the real personal pain and just plain hurtfulness of segregation, and what a real bitch it is to get old. But also how the sisterhood of these dancers keeps them going and laughing and joking. They are amazing.
I love these women and all they have to say. What a pleasure to spend time with them.
A wonderful film, a work of love and devotion from the director and her
production team. Thank you for giving us this glimpse of remarkable
women. Talented, strong, determined, and wise, we have this film, this
information, these sharings for ever. What a gift! Not only are these
ladies truly remarkable, they are truly talented. They have seen and
experienced so much in their lives and continue with that same
effervescent thrill to entertain!!
And along side that we have footage, film clips, still photos from the Harlem Renaissance, from the world of segregation, the world of living 'on the road.'
It is a beautiful work of art. In some ways I wish the film was longer, so that we could have more old photos and footage and more time with these Silver Belles!!!
Thank you for this wonderful documentary.
I saw Been Rich All My Life a few days ago. It is a wonderful
documentary. Basically it is the story of several amazing
African-American women who were dancers in Harlem in the 1930's and
40's. It highlights the women's careers as younger women and catches up
with them as they reunite and dance together again as elderly
If you are lucky enough to get this film, watch the women's eyes as they speak. There is a shine and collective gleam that sparkles when they recount their adventures as dancers during the golden age of Harlem.
Amazing women, amazing film.
This is a wonderful film which I believe people of all ages and backgrounds would love. I saw it yesterday and find that today I am re-seeing it in my mind and laughing and crying all over again. It is beautifully shot and the characters are so wonderful. I feel that I know all of them and that they will always be a part of my life. These characters live their lives fully and dare to follow their dreams. I feel that anyone who sees this film will feel that their life has been enriched by it.Having lived in New York City for sixteen years, I also feel that this film captured on screen so many of the reasons I loved living in that city. Heather MacDonald and that fabulous cast of characters deserve many many congratulations and bravos.
I saw this movie at its premier in my hometown and I must say it was amazing. I was expecting a documentary (usually more boring than entertaining with a very bland narrator), but this wasn't one at all!!! There was no narrator and you really get attached to the characters like a "regular" movie. Watching these ladies from when they were young in the '20s to their current age (80s and 90s) just pulls at your heartstrings--because they are still kickin' it! (literally!) If you have a chance, go to the premier in New York on July 21st!! You will love it and your attendance will help it go national!! My compliments to Heather MacDonald (director).
This documentary follows the lives of the Silver Bells, ladies aged
84-96 who were Harlem showgirls in the heyday of 1930's clubs. It
follows how they formed a tap troupe and still perform in New York.
They follow them as they travel to their rehearsals and performances
and interview them in their homes.
It is this independence that stands out most prominently in this movie. Watching them in their advanced ages maneuvering through the crowded streets they've lived on for so long. It makes a younger viewer tired as one of the ladies shows the route she has to take, which includes multiple trains and buses to get to rehearsal one way.
During the rehearsals you get to see the feisty side of some of these ladies and the perfectionism that they have for their craft. Some still teach the younger dancers attempting to make sure the art of tap is not lost. There are also photos and video clips of the clubs and performers from days gone by interspersed throughout. Looking at all the autographed pictures they possess and how many of the performers they worked with really makes you appreciate their clear memory. They definitely have stories to tell.
They told stories of how they were founding members of the American Guild of Variety Artists. This is a national union that began during the strike of showgirls in Harlem. So many benefit from this union but hardly anyone knows how it all began; that a handful of Black showgirls in Harlem said enough, we deserve better treatment. They also told stories about their performances abroad; riding steamer ships to faraway lands. How dance and the jazz culture took them to places they would never have had the opportunity to see.
Being that all of these women are older necessarily some physical limitations are evident. The most poignant part of the documentary is the possibility of injury. At their age some injures can be fatal. Even with that being the case these women keep performing. They keep the music playing, audiences smiling and hands clapping.
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
The film was a big hit at New York's "Dance on Film" festival.
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