MOVIE REVIEW: Sparkle 1976
In the late 1950's, Effie (Mary Alice) is a Harlem maid with three beautiful daughters. Sista (Lonette McKee) the eldest, Delores (Dwan Smith) the middle sister and Sparkle (Irene Cara) is the youngest. Effie has dreams of her daughters leaving the ghettos of Harlem for a better life. With the help of their friends Stix (Phillip Michael Thomas) and Levi (Dorian Harewood) the sisters form a singing group. The group enters a talent show and surprise, they are a big hit. Stix becomes the manager and decides that it would work better as an all-girl group. The girls become an overnight sensation on the local club circuit. The beautiful, sassy Sista is the main attraction but the real singer of the bunch is Sparkle. Sista draws the attention of big time hustler Satin (Tony King). Against the wishes of family and friends, Sista becomes romantically involved with Satin. Meanwhile a relationship is brewing between Sparkle and the much older Stix. Stix has dreams of taking the girls to the next level…recording their music. Stix has a regular job but doesn’t make enough money to finance their dream. Sista’s relationship with Satin takes a dangerous turn which threatens the group’s dream of recording. Sista’s plight creates a downward spiral for everyone involved and it is up to spunky little Sparkle to continue with the dream of stardom. No more spoilers from me y’all.
This is the quintessential rags-to-riches story. Here you have three gorgeous young ladies who want to make it out of the ghetto. As all rags-to-riches stories go, there is some tragedy that threatens to defer their dreams. This film is a Black cinema classic in my opinion. The music, the costumes, the acting…..just about every aspect of this movie is perfect. I’ve loved this film ever since I was a very young girl with my own dreams of leaving the ghetto behind. Irene Cara has a fantastic voice and sings with such passion. Phillip Michael Thomas is just too fine for words. Beautiful Lonette McKee did such a great job as Sista, even though she’s been in tons of other films, she’ll always be Sista to me. Tony King spent most of the 70’s playing the “baddie” in films but Satin Strothers was the worst “baddie” of them all. Great soundtrack produced by Curtis Mayfield, even though all songs on the soundtrack were sang by Aretha Franklin. In the film, the characters did the actual singing. It’s such a shame that it has taken so long to get this film formatted into a DVD version (due out 1/9/2007). If you have not yet seen this film and still own a VCR, rent it. I guarantee you will be captivated by the music and the story just like I was.
VERDICT: 4 Soul Claps
Labels: Movie Reviews