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He would pull out his gun and show it to me, and one time, as diffidently as I could, I said, "You know Gary, you are blind. Don't you think maybe it's not such a good idea..." He said, "If I can hear it, I can shoot it" - Rev. Gary Davis remembered by Dave Van Ronk, in The Mayor of MacDougal Street

Author Topic: Bessie on HBO  (Read 2831 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2015, 05:06:05 AM »
If we could get back to Bessie, that'd be great.

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2015, 07:12:03 AM »

 Getting back to Bessie.......found a Daily Mail article on this biopic in which Queen Latifah says she had never heard of Bessie Smith, when she was first offered the role.
Also says the film "will centre on how Smith overcame her turbulent personal life"

   This does not sound promising
         

   

Offline Stuart

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2015, 12:27:04 PM »
Thanks for the tip on the Daily Mail article, Mike. I think she was referring to when she was first offered the role at age 22, however. There's a YT video link:



And on the right there are other short videos in which the actors talk about the characters they portray in the film.

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2015, 12:55:56 PM »

 Thanks, Stuart. Just had a look at the clips you suggested.

  It looks far worse than I had suspected. I'll pass on this altogether.
  As incongruous as it seems, in the eyes of these film makers,music doesn't seem to play a role in the story of Bessie Smith.




Offline Stuart

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2015, 01:35:51 PM »
I agree, Mike. While one could make the case--as we've done here before--that there's no such thing as bad publicity if it gets people (who would not have done so otherwise) to explore Bessie Smith and her music, the clips don't exactly inspire a whole lot of optimism.

Offline iwbiek

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2015, 10:50:37 PM »
In my opinion, this should be one of those films where they get up-and-comers who haven't really made names for themselves yet, so the focus is completely on the characters and not the actors as the characters.  Call me cynical, but I know enough about the inept racism of Hollywood that casting Queen Latifah and Mo'nique to me just screams, "We need big black women and these are the only ones with any cred right now."  I mean, Queen Latifah's pretty old to be playing Bessie, isn't she?  Is anybody attached to this project who's actually an expert on Bessie?  Derrick Stewart-Baxter must be rolling in his grave...

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2015, 05:56:12 AM »
Straying off topic slightly.

I recall attending the premier of the 1976 Leadbelly movie at London's Leicester Square Odeon directed by Gordon Parks. Some TV actor I'd never heard of played the lead role. It wasn't well received.

Somewhere I still have all the bumf which was given out at the premier. I may start a new topic and post some of it here.

Offline iwbiek

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2015, 06:51:17 AM »
Ugh, that Leadbelly movie was awful.  I especially hate how they made Lemon so clownish.

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2015, 07:58:07 AM »

 I think you've hit the nail on the head, Iwbiek.

  The casting probably went something like this: "We need a large Black Woman" and somebody replied "Oprah!" and the first person responded with "No. We need somebody we can afford", followed by...."Uhhhhhh...Queen Latifah?.."

Offline wreid75

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2015, 11:02:02 AM »
It's always about who they slept with, what they ate for breakfast, their unhappy childhood, their unhappy marriages, drug or alcohol problems, they got ripped off....blah, blah, blah, blah, blah   What a yawn.

I wish we had more of the biopics especially if done as a series where a life isn't squeezed into two hours.  Peoples lives are all about their childhoods, marriages, failures, successes, abuse or silver spoon, rich and/or poor, gay/straight/both, happy/sad, good/bad/or just mean as hell, personality quirks, closeted skeletons, misconceptions, truths/falsehoods, destitution and redemption.  People are more than what their fingers, feet, and vocal chords were able to do and these things changed what they did with said body parts.  Here is to hoping that Leadbelly, Patton, Bukka, Ma, Mammie, everyone labeled Blind ___________, all those nicknamed fat/slim/son, all those nicknamed texas/mississippi/memphis, howlin' muddy, and honeyboy all get their time on the silver screen.

Offline iwbiek

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2015, 01:48:45 PM »
I just hope they include a scene with Bessie going, "Move, goddammit!  Move!"   ;)

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2015, 08:34:12 AM »
I just hope they include a scene with Bessie going, "Move, goddammit!  Move!"   ;)
Or even her "Hold on; let me spit". Unfortunately for her Harry Pace was not amused at her need to expectorate in the middle of a song and summarily ending her recording test, dismissing her on the spot. His offended sensibilities were to lose him a potential fortune.

Offline wreid75

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2015, 12:04:42 PM »
I am looking forward to this for the exact reasons other people are not.  They could get a bunch of musicians to dress up in  period pieces of clothes and perform a concert of her music as best as they can and lots of people who are all about the music would be delighted.  This is about the story, the story (being her life) that actually played a part in how she sounded.....imagine that.  The fact that she appears in the trailer as a hot mess is awesome cause.............................well she was a freaking hot ass mess!  Queen is perfect even though she is a lil older cause she does look a lot like her and has pipes and can sing.  Critics are calling this the role of her career already.  I find it odd that blues fans tend to cannibalize our own, if you don't think so review some other posts on other threads or ask Randy Meadows.  Even GDW got it last week unprovoked.  We are getting the Emperess of the blues on screen for a few hours, even if it is fake.  For someone born in the 70s who missed out on her music live this is something I am happy about it.  For those that love the music but couldn't give two cents about the story behind the scenes, chill out with a glass of your favorite spirits and an old 78 of her rocking it with the snap crackle pop.  If this is a success we might continue to see some more movies that don't have anything to do with legba and a crossroad. 

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2015, 07:56:32 PM »
  I find it odd that blues fans tend to cannibalize our own

    Based on past biopics and how Hollywood has treated the Blues as subject matter, I think it's a little odd to brand a healthy skepticism as "cannibalizing our own"
    None of us are obligated to embrace anything and everything that purports to have Blues related content and
    we're not heretics for questioning it
   
    So TV critics are already calling it the role of Queen Latifah's career, you say?
    It sounds like you're a lot more impressed with Queen Latifah than I am and that's cool. We can agree to disagree. I hope you enjoy the show.
  I look forward to reading your thoughts on it after it airs
     
 

Offline iwbiek

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Re: Bessie on HBO
« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2015, 08:45:47 AM »
Just how many serious roles has Queen Latifah played?  It's not like we're talking about Angela Bassett here.  The "role of her career" is not saying much.  And sorry, I don't think she looks anything like Bessie. 

And how are we "cannibalizing our own"?  Again I ask, is there ANY reputable blues scholar attached to this project?  So far, I think the biggest problem with any "blues" movie (and I for one contend there's never been one) is that "our own" are not consulted enough!
« Last Edit: May 10, 2015, 12:57:37 PM by iwbiek »

 


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