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Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988)

Not Rated | | Short, Biography, Drama | 30 April 1988 (USA)
Karen Carpenter's battle with anorexia nervosa and the cultural influence of the Carpenters in the 70s.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Merrill Gruver ... Karen (voice)
... Richard (voice)
Melissa Brown ... Mother (voice)
... Dad / Mr. A&M (voice)
Nannie Doyle ... Cherry Boone (voice)
Cynthia Schneider ... Dionne Warwick (voice)
Larry Kole ... Announcer (voice)
Gwen Kraus ... Narrator (voice)
Bruce Tuthill ... Narrator (voice)
Joanne Barnett ... Herself - Singer
... (voice)
Moira McCarty ... (voice)
Laurie Stone ... (voice)
Michelle Manenti ... (voice)
Celia Pearce ... (voice)
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Storyline

Karen and Richard Carpenter are young musicians living with their parents in Downey, California. Richard shows great promise as a songwriter and Karen, who plays drums, begins to sing vocals, thrusting the duo into stardom. They become wildly successful, Karen's striking voice and Richard's soft melodies capturing the essence of the nation's yearning for calm after the turbulent Sixties. But Karen strives for perfection and becomes increasingly fearful of her weight, despite being a slender woman. Eventually she is diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, a mental disease relating to stress, lack of control, and low self-esteem. A fight for Karen's life ensues. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 April 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Суперзвезда: История Карен Карпентер  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was pulled from circulation in 1990, after a cease-and-desist order for unauthorized use of The Carpenters' music. As of 2016, sale or distribution of the film remains illegal. Hundreds of bootleg copies have been sold. See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence, as the camera rounds the corner on its way into Karen's bedroom, a crew member is visible at the end of the hallway. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: Following World War II, and the end of rationing in the early 50s, America was reacquainted with food as plentiful and cheap. There were vast changes in food delivery, availability and storage. Refrigerators, already a part of the American kitchen, became common place and thus eliminated the need for daily shopping. The growth of supermarkets with their rows and rows of dairy products, canned goods, meats, condiments, bakery goods, vegetables, fruits and staples, brought a large display of food...
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Crazy Credits

There are no ending credits, the film ends after shots of newspaper headlines detailing Karen Carpenter's death. See more »

Connections

Features I Dream of Jeannie (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Go Breaking My Heart
Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin
Performed by Elton John and Kiki Dee
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User Reviews

 
Sublimely Brilliant and Subversive
7 September 2004 | by See all my reviews

Unexplainably brilliant. You have to see it to believe it, really.

Understandably suppressed by Richard--I won't spoil it for you--it is at turns hiariously bitchy, grotesque, tender, and cruel. At the same time, it elevates the subject matter, leaving this viewer with a much deeper sense of appreciation for the Karen. I laughed at them, and it made my like both of them more.

The story is dramatized through carefully and minutely constructed sets populated by Barbie dolls clothed in carefully crafted period clothes. Karen's descent into anorexia is represented through whittling down the face and arms of the Barbie doll that portrays her, which has an effect both hilarious and disturbing.

All in all, it feels so much like a "real" documentary, I can't tell you that it isn't. It's treatment of the subject of annorexia and it's effect on Karen's life is at once silly and serious.

I saw it on DVD. The box had next to nothing printed on it. It was obviously bootlegged from somewhere, but the print I saw had good quality audio and visual.


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