Lady Sings the Blues
Location: Bartos Screening Room
Dir. Sidney J. Furie. 1973, 144 mins. 35mm. With Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor. In her big screen debut, Diana Ross plays jazz icon Billie Holiday in a performance that earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, as well as a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Based on Holiday’s best-selling autobiography, the film charts her rise from a traumatic youth to a fledgling career, a fraught romance with her manager (Williams), eventual superstardom, and a derailing addiction. “One of the great performances of 1972. [Ross] doesn’t sing in her own style, and she never tries to imitate Holiday, but she sings somehow in the manner of Holiday. There is an uncanny echo, a suggestion, and yet the style is a tribute to Billie Holiday, not an impersonation.”—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
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