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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ken- and Barbie-style dolls play all of the parts. See more »

Goofs

The same scene of Karen in the hospital is used for Karen in her bed at home when her mother calls. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: As we investigate the story of Karen Carpenter's life and death we are presented with an extremely graphic picture of the internal experience of contemporary femininity. We will see how Karen's visibility as a popular singer only intensified certain difficulties many women experience in relation to their bodies.
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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

Version of The Karen Carpenter Story (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Superstar
Written by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell
Performed by The Carpenters
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User Reviews

 
Bizarre, yet fascinating
3 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

When I first heard of a Karen Carpenter movie acted out by Barbie dolls, I thought, "Yeah, right." Actually, it's not half-bad, revealing the ugly side of brother Richard and their parents. It's a shame the movie has been only available through the underground, though, as it portrays the heart-breaking effects of anorexia through clinical narration, montage, and pop culture to great effect. The use of dolls is actually ingenious, as we come to see how Karen was manipulated by her family, her record company, and society to conform to unattainable perfection. Although banned by numerous lawsuits, this film is available through alternative resources. If you look hard enough, you can find it.


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