The Josephine Baker Story

1991

Biography / Drama

0
IMDb Rating 7.2

Synopsis


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2.47G
Normal
English
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130 min
P/S 80 / 79
1.56G
Normal
English
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130 min
P/S 34 / 62

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by richard-1787 6

This is certainly a well-intentioned movie, and the star, Lynn Whitfield, certainly gives a very moving performance. Much of the movie focuses on Baker&#39;s career after the War, where she becomes involved in the civil rights movement. It&#39;s very well-meaning, certainly, but not the part of her life and career that interests me, so I found that that part of the movie dragged. Her years in Paris as a performer in the 1920s and 30s get short shrift, and that&#39;s a shame, because it&#39;s what made a star of her.<br/><br/>The movie takes its particular stance on how Baker saw her early Paris performances. While it&#39;s an interesting interpretation - very sincere - I don&#39;t know how accurate it is. The one aspect of Baker&#39;s performances that doesn&#39;t get developed in this movie is her role as a comedian. In certain ways, she was something of a Black Fanny Brice. Something of that comes through her early newsreels, but it&#39;s missing from the way Ms. Whitfield was directed to portray Baker.<br/><br/>In the end, for me, this amounted to a very fine performance by Whitfield. But how accurate a depiction of Baker it provided, at least for her early years as a successful performer, I don&#39;t know.

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Reviewed by longislandlloyd 7

Some outstanding performances here by Whitfield, Blades, Gossett, and others in this overly long biography of an important, outspoken, and controversial African American woman, who was years ahead of her time. It was quite a revelation to see how African Americans were treated in St. Louis and in New York in the decades before the civil rights advances of the 50&#39;s and 60&#39;s. We all know about the history of the South, but in many places up North, things were nearly as difficult for minorities in the 1930&#39;s and 40&#39;s. <br/><br/>The story of Josephine Baker had to be told since so many of us are not familiar with her achievements. And HBO and the cast did an outstanding job doing so. The movie was entertaining and sexual, eye-opening and thought provoking. It covered American society as well as French and even gave us some insights into Josephine&#39;s heroics and patriotism during WWII and her push for equality of the races in the U.S. military. I would have preferred to see the movie end while Josephine was at the top and still young, rather than drag on with her numerous adoptions and comeback attempts. That&#39;s why it was not a major motion picture.....too long and drawn out for theater audiences. <br/><br/>A good movie to watch at home while putting away the laundry or brushing the dog.

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Reviewed by tavm 7

In continuing to review African-Americans in film in chronological order for Black History Month, we&#39;re now at 1991 with HBO&#39;s biographical movie, The Josephine Baker Story. Before going on with my comment, I&#39;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 &quot;All in the Family&quot;. Other familiar faces that appeared here were Kene Holliday-who I remember as Baker on &quot;Carter Country&quot;-as musician Sidney Bechet, Louis Gossett Jr. as army leader Sidney Williams, Ruben Blades as Count Giuseppe Pepito Abatino-Baker&#39;s first husband, and Craig T. Nelson-who I first saw in Poltergeist-as columnist Walter Winchell who contributes to Baker&#39;s decline in the U.S. I&#39;d also like to note Vivian Bonnell as Jo&#39;s mother, Mayah McCoy as Baker at 8, and Ainslie Currie as Baker at 13. All these performances and especially Ms. Whitfield&#39;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&#39;s Love Got to Do with It. Like that movie, this one ends with real-life documentary footage. It&#39;s of Ms. Baker&#39;s funeral with her adopted kids attending. While I&#39;m sure some liberties were taken in the depiction of Josephine Baker&#39;s life, the story flows so smoothly that one doesn&#39;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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