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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A New Sammy Davis, Jr. Biopic Aims to Explore the Man Behind the Politics


I'm here for Hollywood icons telling their stories in their own words in documentary form. Because too often their stories are distorted or downright inaccurate in feature films--especially when it comes to black icons. So I am intrigued by the trailer for the upcoming film, SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I'VE GOTTA BE ME, which will world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.

Davis was an icon, a mystery, renowned, incredibly talented, yet still a controversial Hollywood figure in some circles. He was black, vocal, yet respected in a way that made white Hollywood uncomfortable. His story is ripe for a fascinating big screen narrative, so here's hoping that director Sam Pollard has pulled it off with this PBS American Masters documentary. Here's more about it:

SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME is the first major film documentary to examine Davis’ vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America.

Sammy Davis, Jr. had the kind of career that was indisputably legendary, so vast and multi-faceted that it was dizzying in its scope and scale. And yet, his life was complex, complicated and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory. He was the veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions trying to stay relevant; he frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America; he was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to another persecuted minority.

Featuring new interviews with such luminaries as Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, Quincy Jones and Kim Novak, with never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection and excerpts from his electric performances in television, film and concert, SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME explores the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer whose trajectory blazed across the major flashpoints of American society from the Depression through the 1980s.

Watch the trailer:

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