Based on Bizet's classic opera and its all African American musical counterpart Carmen Jones, Carmen a Hiphopera is a modern retelling of the story of the tragic gypsy Carmen. The setting ... See full summary »
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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.
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In this tale of sex, violence, race, and rock and roll in 1950s Chicago, "Cadillac Records" follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America's musical legends, including Muddy Waters, Leonard Chess, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Etta James and Chuck Berry. Written by
Leonard Chess' brother, Philip, was his partner in both the night club and Chess Records. However, Philip is never mentioned throughout the film, and only appears in Chess Record scenes. See more »
The 45 RPM record was not widely used during the time the film was set. Until the late 1950s, 78 RPM records were the state-of-the-art at home and on the radio. Studios were pressing mostly 78's when Chess Records started, but they don't appear anywhere in the film. See more »
[as a narrator]
When you lose that cat that gave you the sound that nobody else could, it hurts. Hurts more than losing your woman.
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Performed by Jeffrey Wright
Written by Robert Johnson (as Robert Leroy Johnson) & Muddy Waters (as McKinley Morganfield)
Published by MPCA King of Spades Music, Claud L. Johnson
administered by MPCA LLC and Watertoons Music
administered by Bug See more »
While this film lacks an original framework (it's "Ray" and "La Bamba" and "Hot Wax" and "Why Do Fools Fall in Love"....), both the subject--a seminal recording label--and the performances make this electrifying entertainment.
I can't speak to the accuracy of its historical facts regarding Leonard Chess' exploitation of some of music's largest figures, but the screenplay zooms along and takes us with it. Jeffrey Wright finally gets a role that hopefully will secure his stature. It's overdue. As Muddy Waters his towering strength both as a character and an actor are very impressive here. As well, the entire supporting cast (and it's a large cast) really rise to the occasion. Columbus Short as Little Walter and Gabrielle Union as Water's wife are equally impressive. And in smaller roles, Eamonn Walker as Howlin' Wolf and Mos Def as Chuck Berry nearly steal the show.
I've never been much of a fan of Adrien Brody, but in the first half of the film, he's quite effective. It's only when Beyoncé Knowles arrives that he stumbles, and who can blame him. Ms. Knowles takes a sensational role and scorches the screen. As the conflicted and troubled Etta James, there's a scene on a livingroom floor in front of a fireplace that should win Ms. Knowles many awards. And we're given a generous helping of sensational James' track very well covered by Ms. Knowles.
When we watch America's taste in music change--both before and after the centerpiece of this story--we're at first exhilarated at the discovery of this "new" form of music, and when it wanes and the lives that were propelled to stardom flag, we feel an enormous sadness. But what we know today--that these individuals became legends--is of great consolation.
I don't care that the structure is straightforward. The recreation of the period and it's attitudes are spot on, and the cinematography by Anastas N. Michos make the film rise above any weakness in the script.
Then, there's the soundtrack....
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