7.0/10
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78 user 26 critic

Sweet Charity (1969)

Trailer
1:35 | Trailer
Taxi dancer Charity continues to have Faith despite endless disappointments at its hands, and Hope that she will finally meet the man to romance her away from her sleazy life. Maybe, just maybe, handsome Oscar will be the one to do it.

Director:

Bob Fosse

Writers:

Neil Simon (from the New York stage production book by), Federico Fellini (based upon the screenplay by: "Nights of Cabiria") | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shirley MacLaine ... Charity
John McMartin ... Oscar
Ricardo Montalban ... Vittorio
Sammy Davis Jr. ... Big Daddy
Chita Rivera ... Nickie
Paula Kelly ... Helene
Stubby Kaye ... Herman
Barbara Bouchet ... Ursula
Suzanne Charny Suzanne Charny ... Dancer
Alan Hewitt ... Nicholsby
Dante DiPaolo Dante DiPaolo ... Charlie (as Dante D'Paulo)
Bud Vest Bud Vest ... Dancer
Ben Vereen ... Dancer
Lee Roy Reams Lee Roy Reams ... Dancer
Al Lanti Al Lanti ... Dancer
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Storyline

Taxi dancer Charity continues to have Faith in the human race despite apparently endless disappointments at its hands, and Hope that she will finally meet the nice young man to romance her away from her sleazy life. Maybe, just maybe, handsome Oscar will be the one to do it. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One of the great musicals of the 60s with fabulous numbers like Big Spender. See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shirley MacLaine's "I'm a Brass Band" is one of the longest musical numbers in film history. See more »

Goofs

In the "Aloof" movement of "The Rich Man's Frug," two of the male principal dancers walk down the stairs to light a woman's cigarette, while the others dance behind them. The background choreography in this shot leads directly to the triangle formation of the next shot, and the two men are now in the middle of the group, although there was no time for them to reach that position. See more »

Quotes

Charity Hope Valentine: Wow, this place is sure full of celebrities. I'm the only one in here I've never heard of.
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Alternate Versions

On its release to what were then called "neighborhood theatres" (i.e., theatres that showed films that had ended their first runs), the film's running time was shortened by trimming or eliminating several scenes. In the shortened version, the montage between the dance hall dressing room scene and the sidewalk scene where Charity sees Vittorio was cut; the dance section of "I'm a Brass Band" was shortened; "I Love to Cry at Weddings" faded out and ended as Charity and Oscar leave the dance hall; and the scene in the phone booth at the end of the film (Charity lying to Nickie and Helene about being with Oscar and the conclusion of "Where Am I Going?") was entirely cut. For several years, this was the version that was shown on television. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Sweet Charity (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

It's a Nice Face
(uncredited)
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Performed by Shirley MacLaine
See more »

User Reviews

 
Shirley MacLaine Channels Gwen Verdon
14 December 2013 | by drednmSee all my reviews

Shirley MacLaine is excellent in this underrated, brassy musical based on the Italian classic film, NIGHTS OF CABIRIA.

MacLaine plays Charity Hope Valentine, a sweet but rather clueless woman who works in a dance hall but yearns for love. She's constantly linking up with men who use her, take her money, dump her. The film opens with Charity in Central Park with her "boyfriend." Sitting on a bridge, she chirps about making a wish and throwing something off the bridge. The creep shoves her into the water.

She has two wiser-but-cynical pals, played by Chita Rivera and Paula Kelly. They seem resigned to their fates as dance hall girls but there's still an ember of hope for a better life.

Charity meets an Italian film star (Ricardo Montalban) and spend the night with him ... in his closet. She then meets a repressed man (John McMartin) in a stalled elevator and seems to have found happiness at last..... But is happiness in the cards for Charity? MacLaine seems to channel Gwen Verdon (who starred in the show on Broadway and who worked with MacLaine on the dance numbers) and excels in the many productions numbers, especially "If They Could See Me Now" and "Somebody Loves Me at Last." MacLaine also has a spirited rooftop dance number with Rivera and Kelly as they opine "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This." The show-stopper is probably the "Big Spender" number which features MacLaine, Rivera, and Kelly with a line of dance hall girls who try to lure men to be their partners. It's a sensational number that shows Bob Fosse's choreographic skills and also demonstrates the cynical life of a dance hall girl.

Other great numbers include MacLaine and Montalban's visit to the Pompeii Club where the dancers go through a series of landmark Fosse dances. The lead dancer here is the sensational Suzanne Charny. Among the dancers are also Ben Vereen, Lee Roy Reams, and Chelsea Brown.

Sammy Davis turns up the heat with the "River of Life" number which shows Charity and Oscar (McMartin)seeking meaning and discovering the 60s counter culture. Then there's Stubby Kaye as the dance hall manager who throws Charity a wedding party and sings "I Love to Cry at Weddings." This is a hugely underrated musical filled with great music and production numbers. Big, bright, brassy, and brazen, what's not to love? MacLaine won a Golden Globe nomination.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 May 1969 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Sweet Charity: The Adventures of a Girl Who Wanted to Be Loved See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Mono (Westrex Recording System) (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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