Lady Sings The Blues


(out of 5)

This film pays righteous tribute to pioneer jazz singer Billie Holiday, though not necessarily in ways that you would expect. While the screenplay does a trivial job of encapsulating her career, fictionalizes much of her love life and simplifies her conflicts, the soundtrack is constantly pumping out song after song that hearken back to Holiday’s golden age of music making.  is scintillating as the milestone chanteuse, not in any way the same kind of singer but still managing to capture the spirit of the voice whose recordings still seem as fresh and alive today as they did so many decades ago. Beginning with her troubled childhood, the story moves through Holiday’s romance with spiffy  and her days in dirty nightclubs until she hits the big time, starts recording and makes a pretty lucrative life for herself. Unfortunately, she deals with her sorrows by taking heroin, and this devastating habit is what eventually does her in. Entertaining as both drama and musical, this film would have done even better to concentrate on the woman herself and not constantly go in for the back-and-forth soap-opera relationship between her and her husband.

, , , ,

USA, 1972

Directed by

Screenplay by , , , based on the book by ,

Cinematography by

Produced by , ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by ,

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1972

Golden Globe Awards 1972

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