In the 1950s and 1960s, Ruben Santiago-Hudson Jr. lives in a lively boardinghouse in the blue-collar town of Lackawanna, New York, with his father after his parents separate. Run by the motherly Nanny Crosby and her taciturn husband, the boardinghouse residents, including The Bandleader, singer Pauline and cabaret owner Dick Barrymore, teach the young boy about life and art.Written by
Ruben Santiago-Hudson insisted his daughter Lily be cast in a cameo as Laura's daughter. But his son Trey, a twin with Lily, wanted to appear in the movie as well, which Ruben accepted. In real-life, the character of the abused Laura only had a daughter, not a twin daughter and son. The scene where Laura comes to Nanny's house in the middle of the night with her son and daughter after leaving her abusive husband is accurately re-created word-for-word as Ruben remembered from that night. See more »
When Rachel is getting $20 bills pinned on her, there are pinned bills on her right side including her arm, when they return to that scene, the bills are gone. See more »
I always felt that Ms. Merkerson had never gotten a role fitting her skills. Familiar to millions as the Lt. on Law and Order, she has been seen in a number of theatrical releases, always in a supporting role. HBO's Lackawanna Blues changes that and allows this talented actress to shine as Nanny, successful entrepreneur in a world changing from segregation to integration. But the story is really about the colorful array of characters that she and her adopted son meet in a boarding house in Lackawanna, New York, a suburb of Buffalo.
The story could be set in any major African-American community of the 50's and 60's from Atlanta's Sweet Auburn to New York's Harlem. But the segregation-integration angle is only a subtle undercurrent in the colorful lives of the folks at Nanny's boarding house. The story revolves around Nanny's relationships with all kinds of people, played by some of the best actors in the business (I purposely did not say black actors--this ensemble is a stunning array of talent who happen to be black, except for Jimmy Smits, of course) I recommend this film as a fun and colorful look at a bygone day.
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