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The Josephine Baker Story (1991)

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

Director:

Brian Gibson

Writers:

Ron Hutchinson (story), Michael Zagor (story) | 1 more credit »
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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:
Lynn Whitfield ... Josephine Baker
Rubén Blades ... Count Giuseppe Pepito Abatino
David Dukes ... Jo Bouillon
Louis Gossett Jr. ... Sidney Williams
Craig T. Nelson ... Walter Winchell
Kene Holiday ... Sidney Bechet (as Kene Holliday)
Vivian Bonnell ... Josephine's Mother
Mayah McCoy Mayah McCoy ... Josephine -Age 8
Ainslie Currie Ainslie Currie ... Josephine - Age 13
Pierre Magny Pierre Magny ... Poul Colin
Franco Britt Franco Britt ... Victor (as Franco Iiriti)
George Faison George Faison ... Emcee in Harlem Club
Robert Lesser ... Copa City Manager
Luis Reyes Luis Reyes ... Josephine's Father
Vivienne Eytle Vivienne Eytle ... Josephine's Sister
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Storyline

Born poor in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker achieved fame and fortune through her sizzlingly exotic, 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 an orchestra leader, to her bond with army officer Sydney Williams, Josephine's life is a rollercoaster 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

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 March 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Josephine Baker Story See more »

Filming Locations:

Budapest, Hungary

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?


Quotes

Josephine Baker: Stop that man! You stop! You called me a nigger! You said you didn't want to sit alongside a nigger! Well, I don't know if you know it, but there are laws against that! Call the police and tell them I am making a citizen's arrest now!
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

The Times they are a Changin'
Written by Bob Dylan
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User Reviews

 
Well intentioned
27 January 2012 | by richard-1787See all my reviews

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's career after the War, where she becomes involved in the civil rights movement. It'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's a shame, because it's what made a star of her.

The movie takes its particular stance on how Baker saw her early Paris performances. While it's an interesting interpretation - very sincere - I don't know how accurate it is. The one aspect of Baker's performances that doesn'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's missing from the way Ms. Whitfield was directed to portray Baker.

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't know.


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