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In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
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Detroit, the early 1960s. Curtis Taylor, Jr., a car salesman, breaks into the music business with big dreams. He signs a trio of young women, the Dreamettes, gets them a job backing an R&B performer, James "Thunder" Early, establishes his own record label and starts wheeling and dealing. When Early flames out, Curtis makes the Dreamettes into headliners as the Dreams, but not before demoting their hefty big-voiced lead singer, Effie White, and putting the softer-voiced looker, Deena Jones, in front. Soon after, he fires Effie, sends her into a life of proud poverty, and takes Deena and the Dreams to the top. How long can Curtis stay there, and will Effie ever get her due?Written by
During the success montage, the Dreams' "Dreamgirls" single is shown climbing up Billboard magazine's "Top LP's" albums chart, not its "Hot 100" singles chart. See more »
Effie Melody White:
So... Deena's going to sing the lead 'cause you like the way she looks? Am I ugly to you, Curtis?
Curtis Taylor Jr.:
Baby, come on! You know how I feel about you, come on. Don't make it personal.
Effie Melody White:
Well, what am I supposed to do? Deena's beautiful, and she's always been beautiful... but I've got the voice, Curtis! I've got the voice! You can't put me in back; you just can't!
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The original 1981 "Playbill" cover for the Broadway version of "Dreamgirls" is displayed during the end credits just before the names of the show's Broadway creators are featured. See more »
In 2017, Paramount released a "Director's Extended Edition" of "Dreamgirls." This version runs ten minutes longer than the theatrical version and contains changes which include the following:
The opening talent show scene has extended performances of "I'm Looking' for Something'" and "Goin' Downtown," including a longer scene on the stairs outside the Detroit Theater, where Curtis offers Marty a cigarette and a sales pitch after Charlene and Joanne walk out on him, and Curtis catches a first glimpse of Deena
Sung dialogue leading up to "Steppin' to the Bad Side" ("You've got me to think for you now...") proceeds the scene in which Curtis tells Wayne and CC of his plan to sell off the car dealership, similar to the lead-up to the song in the original Broadway show. This scene takes the place of the shorter, spoken word alternate version used in the theatrical version
All shots of Wayne enacting Curtis' payload plans at radio stations are replaced with scenes of the Mafia members Curtis makes a deal with distributing the records and the money
The Jimmy & the Dreamettes performance section go "Steppin to the Bad Side" is extended
"Love You I Do" is extended by adding an instrumental break under the scene in which Michelle gets a job at Rainbow Records, and then showing Effie sing the song's second verse on camera
"Heavy" is extended by adding a break and a chorus, and placing more emphasis on Effie keeping an eye on Deena's image taking over the TV studio monitors
There is an extra shot of Curtis and Deena's mansion as Deena heads to the service car outside
An extra scene shows Curtis, C.C., Wayne and other Rainbow executives at a board meeting, at which Curtis decides to finance his "Cleopatra" film pet project with a 10th anniversary special (This scene includes two F-bombs by Jamie Foxx; the Director's Extended Edition is unrated as a result)
"Patience" is extended by adding extra choruses to the section in which Jimmy and Lorrell record the song, accompanied by a choir
"Perfect World" is extended by including a full verse and chorus
"I Meant You No Harm" and "Lorrell Loves Jimmy" are both extended by a few bars
Jimmy's silent glare at Deena basking in her fame at the Rainbow 10th anniversary TV special is replaced by sung dialogue ("Because I was here long before you...") similar to the "Firing of Jimmy" scene in the original Broadway show
"I Miss You, Old Friend" is extended by a few bars
"Effie, Sing My Song" - sung dialogue in which C.C. and Effie reconcile - is added in place of the spoken word alternate version used in the theatrical version
"One Night Only" is performed in full (only half is used in the theatrical version). At the conclusion of the song, Curtis' Mafia associates come to Effie's performance in Max Washington's bar, which is how they get word (and a tape) to alert Curtis
Curtis has an extra line of dialogue when being interviewed on the Dreams' farewell performance red carpet, in which he announces that his new artist, Tania Williams, will be releasing her debut album in a month
What a spectacular movie musical experience! This is one worth waiting in line, if not purchasing advance tickets for. Beautifully realized by writer-director Bill Condon, 'Dreamgirls' brings back thoughts of a few years ago when the movie musical version of 'Chicago' knocked our socks off, and (with the help of the gorgeous 'Moulin Rouge') helped to revive the modern movie musical. The sets, costumes, musical numbers all flow beautifully and make for an incredibly affecting motion picture.
As amazing and eye-popping as all of the scene work and musical numbers are, this is, ultimately, a movie rooted in its performances. Jamie Foxx gives further credence to his stature as an incredibly talented musician, and Beyonce Knowles (known for her vocal talents) still manages to impress with her songs and her voice. Not to mention her stunning beauty, as each costume and scene in which she appears seem to top one another in terms of showcasing her incredible beauty. Eddie Murphy blew me away with not only his truly heartfelt performance as Jimmy Early, but his amazing voice and showmanship. What a talent! Anika Noni Rose, who I fell in love with on Broadway in 'Caroline, or Change,' gives her performance as Laurelle soul and a deep, rich vocal styling. But let's face it..we are all going into 'Dreamgirls' wondering if 'American Idol' contestant Jennifer Hudson can pull it off. She has quite a bit to live up to, as Jennifer Holliday's performance as Effie White in the original Broadway production is legendary. Add to that the fact that this is Ms. Hudson movie debut, she must have been feeling a huge weight on her shoulders to do the part, as well as the show, justice. If she isn't able to do anything less than nail the part of Effie, as well as her signature song, 'And I am Telling You,' the whole production, no matter how great the other aspects hold up, runs the risk of crashing loudly. The question on everyone's mind is: Can she do it?
Let me just say this... I have never sat in a theater watching a musical where the audience erupted in applause like they would in a Broadway theater after a performer's song. Everyone (and I mean everyone!) was wildly applauding when she struck her last note in 'And I am Telling You.' It was such an intense experience to be a part of. I mean...as I am writing this, I am getting goose bumps. But not only is her singing tremendously effective, but her actual performance is just as good. She brings a vulnerability and an innocence that perhaps would not have come through had the part been given to a more experienced movie performer. Ms. Hudson is nothing short of breathtaking and, even if you are not crazy about the rest of the picture (doubtful), you will almost certainly be amazed by her talent. Just remarkable. This has to be one of the most impressive motion picture debuts in the history of cinema. Even during the closing "curtain call," when Jennifer Hudson's name was shown, there was, again, wild applause. A star has been born!!!
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