Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1976. Robert Stigwood Organization, Warner Bros.. Story by Howard Rosenman, Screenplay by Joel Schumacher. Cinematography by Bruce Surtees. Produced by Howard Rosenman. Music by Curtis Mayfield. Production Design by Peter Wooley. Costume Design by Daniel Paredes. Film Editing by Gordon Scott.
There’s an honest and unassuming quality about this tale of family and ambition that overrides its slow, easy pace. Three sisters growing up in Harlem have varying relationships with their single mother (Mary Alice) who struggles to make ends meet as a maid. Eldest daughter Lonette McKee is showing promise as a singer but is decidedly destructive when it comes to men; younger sister Dwan Smith can’t reconcile her feelings about the changing political climate for black Americans with what she views in her mother as conventional thinking; baby sister Irene Cara makes friends with Philip Michael Thomas (pre-Miami Vice fame) and just tries to do right by them all. As time progresses, McKee’s star fades while Cara reveals her talent for singing and writing music. Great atmosphere that provides a capsule of time and place, plus a wonderful soundtrack featuring hits that have not gone out of style (“Jump”, “Hooked On Your Love”, “Something He Can Feel”). Remade with Whitney Houston in the mother role in 2012.