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The Josephine Baker Story (1991)

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Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker was born poor, but achieved fame and fortune through her sizzlingly exotic and erotic performances. Starting life on the American Vaudeville ... See full summary »

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Josephine Baker
... Count Giuseppe Pepito Abatino
... Jo Bouillon
... Sidney Williams
... Walter Winchell
... Sidney Bechet (as Kene Holliday)
... Josephine's Mother
Mayah McCoy ... Josephine -Age 8
Ainslie Currie ... Josephine - Age 13
Pierre Magny ... Poul Colin
Franco Britt ... Victor (as Franco Iiriti)
George Faison ... Emcee in Harlem Club
Robert Lesser ... Copa City Manager
Luis Reyes ... Josephine's Father
Vivienne Eytle ... Josephine's Sister
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Storyline

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker was born poor, but achieved fame and fortune through her sizzlingly exotic and erotic performances. Starting life on the American Vaudeville circuit, success takes Josephine to Paris where her semi-nude dancing causes an international sensation. Through her marriages to an Italian pseudo-count and orchestra leader, to her bond with army officer Sydney Williams, Josephine's life is a roller coaster ride of love and rejection from both her lovers and her country. But semi-nude, or head-to-toes in sequins; in battle fatigues or rags - her beauty and ambition ensured that Josephine Baker will always be remembered as the first, and possibly most loved, truly international star. Written by HBO Home Video

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Before Madonna. Before Marilyn. There was Josephine.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

16 March 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Josephine-Baker-Story  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Diana Ross, Diahnne Abbott, Irene Cara, Holly Robinson Peete, Whitney Houston, and Neneh Cherry were considered for the role of Josephine Baker. See more »

Quotes

Josephine's Mother: [after Josephine is exiled from America] Let's get one thing straight from the get-go: I ain't learning no French.
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Connections

Referenced in Live with Kelly and Ryan: Episode dated 6 March 1991 (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Begin the Beguine
Written by Cole Porter
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User Reviews

 
The Josephine Baker Story provides nearly excellent depictions of her life and career
27 February 2008 | by See all my reviews

In continuing to review African-Americans in film in chronological order for Black History Month, we're now at 1991 with HBO's biographical movie, The Josephine Baker Story. Before going on with my comment, I'd like to mention that star Lynn Whitfield is a native of the city I now live in, Baton Rouge, La. As the title indicates, this TV film chronicles the life and career of Ms. Baker, who rose from poverty in St. Louis to become the toast of France. In between, she tries and fails to integrate the U.S. (at least outside of her shows) and adopts lots of multicultural children to the consternation of her second husband. That husband-band leader Jo Boullion-was played by the late David Dukes who I remember first seeing as the man who attempted rape on Edith Bunker on "All in the Family". Other familiar faces that appeared here were Kene Holliday-who I remember as Baker on "Carter Country"-as musician Sidney Bechet, Louis Gossett Jr. as army leader Sidney Williams, Ruben Blades as Count Giuseppe Pepito Abatino-Baker's first husband, and Craig T. Nelson-who I first saw in Poltergeist-as columnist Walter Winchell who contributes to Baker's decline in the U.S. I'd also like to note Vivian Bonnell as Jo's mother, Mayah McCoy as Baker at 8, and Ainslie Currie as Baker at 13. All these performances and especially Ms. Whitfield's are excellent throughout. The director was the late Brian Gibson who briefly married Lynn and later guided Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne to Oscar nominations as Tina and Ike Turner in What's Love Got to Do with It. Like that movie, this one ends with real-life documentary footage. It's of Ms. Baker's funeral with her adopted kids attending. While I'm sure some liberties were taken in the depiction of Josephine Baker's life, the story flows so smoothly that one doesn't notice where those spots might be unless some viewers had read some of the books about her. So on that note, I highly recommend The Josephine Baker Story.


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