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Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark (2014)

Imagine what it would feel like to be the only black television star in Hollywood at a time when the Ku Klux Klan acted out violently against black people, when America groaned under the ... See full summary »

Director:

Jon Brewer
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nat 'King' Cole ... Himself (archive footage)
Tony Bennett ... Himself
Ralph Carmichael Ralph Carmichael ... Himself
Johnny Mathis ... Himself
George Benson George Benson ... Himself
Harry Belafonte ... Himself
Maria Cole Maria Cole ... Herself, Nat King Cole's wife
Edward Coles Edward Coles ... Himself, Baptist minister, Nat King Cole's father (archive footage)
Charles Evers Charles Evers ... Himself, civil rights activist and former Republican politician
Ivan Mogull Ivan Mogull ... Himself
Buddy Greco ... Himself
Bruce Forsyth ... Himself
Eddie Wakes Eddie Wakes ... Himself
Oscar Peterson ... Himself (archive footage)
Eddie Cole Eddie Cole ... Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

Imagine what it would feel like to be the only black television star in Hollywood at a time when the Ku Klux Klan acted out violently against black people, when America groaned under the weight of segregation and prejudice. Imagine being in possession of a natural talent so great, so unique and disarming that these issues were seemingly swept to one side to allow you to perform and be acknowledged for this gift, yet behind closed doors they were trying to think of a way to package you as something you were not: white. This candid account of the actual happenings in and around the "fairytale" life of fame and fortune of Nat King Cole, are taken from the private journals of Nat King Cole and exclusive interviews with the widow of Nat King Cole, Maria Cole, as well as contributions from other family members, Tony Bennett, Buddy Greco, Harry Bellafonte, Nancy Wilson, Sir Bruce Forsythe, George Benson, Aaron Neville, Johnny Mathis and many more. Some of these shocking stories have never ... Written by Laura Royko

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 October 2016 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Nat King Cole - sammetsrösten See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Unforgettable
Written by Irving Gordon
Performed by Natalie Cole and Nat 'King' Cole
Courtesy of Elektra
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User Reviews

 
Reverential Documentary That Lacks the Courage of its Convictions
1 June 2014 | by l_rawjalaurenceSee all my reviews

Jon Brewer's documentary traces the life and singing career of Nat King Cole, with the help of several contributors including his widow and children, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Buddy Greco, Harry Belafonte and a host of others. We learn a lot about Cole's phenomenal talent both as a singer and pianist; and how, as his career progressed, he minimized his talent as a pianist so as to concentrate on his singing career. We also learn something of the difficulties he faced as an African American trying to prosper in a segregated society; on several occasions, while playing gigs in major centers like Las Vegas, he was forced to stay in squalid colored-only hotels, while the Euros enjoyed the benefits of first class accommodation. In the end Cole was rewarded with his own national television series on NBC; but it only ran for one season, as many stations in the South refused to broadcast it. Cole showed what was possible for an African American, so long as they were sufficiently talented, but he did it in an unaggressive way; what emerges most tangibly from Brewer's film is that he was a gentleman in all senses of the word. Although the film is ninety minutes long, we do not learn much about Cole's character; nor is there sufficient attention given to his contributions to the Civil Rights movement. There are rather too many adulatory comments from the participants, and not enough time given over to historical analysis. Some kind of dating would have been useful as well; we are not told when the television series was broadcast, nor are we really given much information about other significant dates in Cole's career. NAT KING COLE - AFRAID OF THE DARK is certainly watchable, but it is something of a disappointment content-wise.


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