Detroit, the early 1960s. Curtis Taylor, Jr., a car salesman, breaks into the music business with big dreams. He signs a trio of young women, the Dreamettes, gets them a job backing an R&B performer, James "Thunder" Early, establishes his own record label and starts wheeling and dealing. When Early flames out, Curtis makes the Dreamettes into headliners as the Dreams, but not before demoting their hefty big-voiced lead singer, Effie White, and putting the softer-voiced looker, Deena Jones, in front. Soon after, he fires Effie, sends her into a life of proud poverty, and takes Deena and the Dreams to the top. How long can Curtis stay there, and will Effie ever get her due?Written by
Jamie Foxx initially declined to play Curtis Taylor, Jr. because the salary offered was insufficient. Denzel Washington was offered the part after Foxx, but declined because he can't sing. Once Beyoncé and Eddie Murphy were attached to the production, Foxx rethought his decision and accepted the role. See more »
Fluorescent floor tape for the actors' marks are visible in the tracking shot during the second verse of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going". See more »
The original 1981 "Playbill" cover for the Broadway version of "Dreamgirls" is displayed during the end credits just before the names of the show's Broadway creators are featured. See more »
In 2017, Paramount released a "Director's Extended Edition" of "Dreamgirls." This version runs ten minutes longer than the theatrical version and contains changes which include the following:
The opening talent show scene has extended performances of "I'm Looking' for Something'" and "Goin' Downtown," including a longer scene on the stairs outside the Detroit Theater, where Curtis offers Marty a cigarette and a sales pitch after Charlene and Joanne walk out on him, and Curtis catches a first glimpse of Deena
Sung dialogue leading up to "Steppin' to the Bad Side" ("You've got me to think for you now...") proceeds the scene in which Curtis tells Wayne and CC of his plan to sell off the car dealership, similar to the lead-up to the song in the original Broadway show. This scene takes the place of the shorter, spoken word alternate version used in the theatrical version
All shots of Wayne enacting Curtis' payload plans at radio stations are replaced with scenes of the Mafia members Curtis makes a deal with distributing the records and the money
The Jimmy & the Dreamettes performance section go "Steppin to the Bad Side" is extended
"Love You I Do" is extended by adding an instrumental break under the scene in which Michelle gets a job at Rainbow Records, and then showing Effie sing the song's second verse on camera
"Heavy" is extended by adding a break and a chorus, and placing more emphasis on Effie keeping an eye on Deena's image taking over the TV studio monitors
There is an extra shot of Curtis and Deena's mansion as Deena heads to the service car outside
An extra scene shows Curtis, C.C., Wayne and other Rainbow executives at a board meeting, at which Curtis decides to finance his "Cleopatra" film pet project with a 10th anniversary special (This scene includes two F-bombs by Jamie Foxx; the Director's Extended Edition is unrated as a result)
"Patience" is extended by adding extra choruses to the section in which Jimmy and Lorrell record the song, accompanied by a choir
"Perfect World" is extended by including a full verse and chorus
"I Meant You No Harm" and "Lorrell Loves Jimmy" are both extended by a few bars
Jimmy's silent glare at Deena basking in her fame at the Rainbow 10th anniversary TV special is replaced by sung dialogue ("Because I was here long before you...") similar to the "Firing of Jimmy" scene in the original Broadway show
"I Miss You, Old Friend" is extended by a few bars
"Effie, Sing My Song" - sung dialogue in which C.C. and Effie reconcile - is added in place of the spoken word alternate version used in the theatrical version
"One Night Only" is performed in full (only half is used in the theatrical version). At the conclusion of the song, Curtis' Mafia associates come to Effie's performance in Max Washington's bar, which is how they get word (and a tape) to alert Curtis
Curtis has an extra line of dialogue when being interviewed on the Dreams' farewell performance red carpet, in which he announces that his new artist, Tania Williams, will be releasing her debut album in a month
I was looking forward to seeing this film after all the hype in the press and a film with so many awards/nominations must be worth seeing right? Well, maybe i should have waited to rent this one. It starts out promising, great cast, brilliant costumes/make up and a feeling that the film will take you on a journey.
However, half-way through, it struck me that this film could not make up its mind whether it was a musical or a movie. The singing seemed to be confined to the performances of the artists in the film in the first half, but confusingly this all changed when in the second half they burst in to song at any interval. In my opinion it seemed like it was embarrassed to be a musical.
Many of the songs were similar and went on for far too long. The 'argument song' in the middle (you'll know which i mean) was verging on embarrassing. It left me sat in the theatre cringing, squirming and begging it to end.
It's not all doom and gloom though. The film re-found its feet finally, towards the end.
In short I felt the film was good to start, stalled in the middle and went on to a good end. Visually stunning, impressive cast, great performances but loses the plot in the middle.
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