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Porgy and Bess (1959)

A woman whose past is scorned by nearly everyone around her meets a man who'd love her regardlessly- if only everyone else would allow them to.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(play), (libretto) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Porgy
... Bess
... Sportin' Life
... Maria
... Crown
Leslie Scott ... Jake
... Clara
Ruth Attaway ... Serena Robbins
... Detective
... Peter
Everdinne Wilson ... Annie
Joel Fluellen ... Robbins
Earl Jackson ... Mingo
Moses LaMarr ... Nelson
Margaret Hairston ... Lily
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Storyline

In this legendary Gershwin opera set among the black residents of a fishing village in 1912 South Carolina, Bess - a woman with a disreputable history - tries to break free from her brutish lover Crown after he becomes wanted for murder. The only person willing to overlook her past and offer her shelter is the crippled Porgy. Their relationship is threatened by the disapproval of the townspeople, the presence of her old drug supplier Sportin' Life - and the threatened return of Crown. Written by scgary66

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Gershwin Music! The Goldwyn Touch! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 October 1959 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Porgy y Bess  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,500,000, 31 December 1959
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally bought as a film property by Columbia Pictures in 1942 to star an all-white cast in blackface: Al Jolson as Porgy, Rita Hayworth as Bess, and Fred Astaire as Sportin' Life. When that proved unrealistic, the property was sold to 20th Century Fox, where it was hoped to have been a follow-up to Stormy Weather (1943). Rouben Mamoulian (who directed the original Broadway play) was announced as director and the following cast was announced: Paul Robeson as Porgy, Lena Horne as Bess, Hattie McDaniel as Maria, Canada Lee as Crown, Cab Calloway as Sportin' Life and Fredi Washington as Clara. When Horne proved to be unavailable after 'Stormy Weather' and Robeson clashed with Darryl F. Zanuck due to his political beliefs following the filming of Tales of Manhattan (1942), the film was shelved until 1957 when it was bought by Samuel Goldwyn. See more »

Quotes

[Robbins throws the dice and sees that dice is nine]
Robbins: Read 'em, nine spot! Nine right!
Sportin' Life: He made it!
[Robbins grabs the money and Crown seizes his hands]
Crown: Touch that money and meet your god.
[grabs his wrists]
Robbins: Take your hands off me, you lousy hound!
Crown: Nobody's getting away with Crown's money.
[Crown began to fighting and strangling Robbins]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in White Nights (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

I Ain't Got No Shame
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by DuBose Heyward
Sung by The Ken Darby Singers at the picnic
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent Musical. It begs to be on DVD.
29 December 2004 | by See all my reviews

"Porgy and Bess" is an outstanding production of George Gershwin's masterpiece. It is tastefully done in muted colors. The voices are outstanding. Although Sidney Portier's voice is dubbed for his singing portion, he gives a very touching performance. There is a remarkable performance by Sammy Davis Jr. as Sportin Life. There is yet no DVD available for viewing, and this piece begs for one. All intelligent movie goers who enjoyed it in 1959 will appreciate the release of this masterpiece on the new medium. The screen is filled with a dynamic presentation that rivals all other musicals including the outstanding ones by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Be sure to ask for it an your video supplier. Like "Songs of the South" by Walt Disney, it may be the assumption of racial overtones that is preventing the marketing of this cinema.


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