10 user 6 critic

Hitsville: The Making of Motown (2019)

TV-14 | | Documentary, Music | 24 August 2019 (USA)
Documentary film that focuses on the period beginning with the birth of Motown in Detroit in 1958 until its relocation to Los Angeles in the early 1970s.


Benjamin Turner (screenplay), Gabe Turner (screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Berry Gordy ... Himself
Smokey Robinson ... Himself
Stevie Wonder ... Himself
Mickey Stevenson Mickey Stevenson ... Himself
Valerie Simpson Valerie Simpson ... Herself
Eddie Holland Eddie Holland ... Himself
Brian Holland Brian Holland ... Himself
Lamont Dozier ... Himself
Robin Terry Robin Terry ... Herself
Mary Wilson ... Herself
Abdul 'Duke' Fakir Abdul 'Duke' Fakir ... Himself
Jamie Foxx ... Himself
Martha Reeves ... Herself
Dr. Dre ... Himself
Claudette Robinson Claudette Robinson ... Herself


Documentary film that focuses on the period beginning with the birth of Motown in Detroit in 1958 until its relocation to Los Angeles in the early 1970s. The film tracks the unique system that Gordy assembled that enabled Motown to become the most successful record label of all time. The creation and initial success of Motown was achieved during a period of significant racial tensions in America and amid the burgeoning civil rights movement. Written by SHOWTIME

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Documentary | Music


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24 August 2019 (USA) See more »


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User Reviews

Hitsville the Making of Motown - Deserves an Oscar in the documentary category.
1 October 2019 | by brankovranjkovicSee all my reviews

Documentary of the remarkable story of Berry Gordy.

Berry was the musical genius behind the formative years of Motown, he provides on screen narration with large contributions from Smokey Robinson.

As a child Berry was always interested in making money and started selling newspapers to white-folk, he did well and pulled in help from his brother to increase sales. But this backfired, you see because 1 black youth was cute but 2 started to look like a threat.

Berry briefly worked at Ford and so we see how car assembly techniques influenced his music production. Berry's skill was song writing and taking talented artists and bringing out the best from them to become superstars. We also see how Smokey Robinson was a special part of the Motown story, he had the idea of producing their own records instead of taking a tiny commission from other companies.

The 'Hitsville USA' studio looked like an ordinary house, this was where they started recording. Motown sounded different and there was a reason, the secret was recording in their echoey bathroom. The film includes historic film footage, including photos and audio clips of meetings where the music making machine 'family' would decide which singles to release.

Don't think of this as a film about black music, more about the sound of America. Deserves an Oscar in the documentary category.

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