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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?

Trivia

In 1975, Diahann Carroll was announced as starring in a television version of this story. See more »

Quotes

Josephine Baker: [after her show becomes a critical failure in America] You did this to me.
Count Giuseppe Pepito Abatino: I gave you Broadway. How could I know?
Josephine Baker: You gave me Broadway to keep me busy because you know there's nothing between us anymore!
Count Giuseppe Pepito Abatino: No, I love you.
Josephine Baker: You don't love me! You worship me. That's not the same thing. You worship me because you think you made me!
Count Giuseppe Pepito Abatino: [pointing to Josephine's heart] How can you say there's nothing in here? I have nothing but you.
Josephine Baker: And I can't live with that anymore! I was right. I was right! I never should...
[...]
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

La Petite Tonkinoise
Music by Vincent Scotto
Lyrics by Henri Christiné and Georges Villard
See more »

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User Reviews

A revealing look at an admirable woman
6 August 2003 | by inkblot11See all my reviews

Josephine Baker (Lynn Whitfield) grew up in poverty and, at a very young age, displayed her talents on Vaudeville. Unhappy with the treatment of African Americans in the 1920's in her homeland, she travels to France and makes it big as an exotic dancer and singer. Loved by the Europeans, Josephine's manager/boyfriend (Rubin Blades) decides to have her return to Broadway. She fails miserably. Yet, Josephine remains a strong, outspoken person who soon takes her show on the road and turns heads. She also finds time to try to elevate the treatment of African Americans and to do acts of charitable worth. But, will Josephine ever be truly happy?

This is a brief look at a complex woman. Her indomitable spirit is brought to life in Whitfield's strong performance. Josephine is remembered for her scandalous costumes and risque dancing yet, as this movie proves, she had much more to contribute to humanity. The performance by Blades is also top-notch. As for the costumes, they are revealing yet always stunning. In summary, this movie deserves an audience and one wider than the African-American community. On the next trip to the video store or library, give it a try. Viewers will be entertained as well as enlightened by Baker's admirable life story.


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