Lady Sings the Blues

Lady Sings the Blues

Diana Ross
Director: Sidney J. Furie Cast: Diana Ross
Diana Ross
, Billy Dee Williams
Billy Dee Williams
, Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor
Sidney J. Furie


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Diana Ross plays the magnificent, tragic song stylist Billie Holiday, who while writhing in a strait jacket in a prison cell, awaiting sentencing on drug charges, reflects on her turbulent life. Raped in her youth by a drunk (Adolph Caesar), then compelled to work as a domestic in a Harlem whorehouse, Holliday is encouraged to try for a singing career by the bordello's pianist (Richard Pryor). She rises as high as it is possible to go in the white-dominated show business world of the 1930s, but can't handle the pressure and turns to narcotics. The film takes several liberties with the 44-year existence of "Lady Day." Among the Billie Holiday standards performed by Ross are "My Man," "I Cried for You," "Lover Man," "Them There Eyes," and the title song.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/02/1996
UPC: 0097360837438
Original Release: 1972
Rating: R
Source: Paramount

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Diana Ross Billie Holiday
Billy Dee Williams Louis McKay
Richard Pryor Piano Man
James Callahan Reg
Paul Hampton Harry
Tracee Lyles Whore
Sid Melton Jerry
Michelle Aller Actor
Larry Duran Actor
Jester Hairston Actor
Lynn Hamilton Actor
Byron Kane Actor
Bert Kramer Actor
Helen Lewis Actor
Don McGovern Actor
Barbara Minkus Actor
Dick Poston Actor
Milton Selzer The Doctor
Clay Tanner Actor
Charles Woolf Actor
George Wyner Actor
Denise Denise Actor
Paul Micale Actor
Kay Lewis Actor
Ernie Robinson Actor
Virginia Capers Mama Holiday
Yvonne Fair Yvonne
Scatman Crothers Big Ben
Harry Caesar Rapist
Robert L. Gordy Hawk
Ned Glass Agent
Paulene Myers Mrs. Edson
Isabel Sanford Madame
Norman Bartold Detective

Technical Credits
Sidney J. Furie Director
Ray Aghayan Costumes/Costume Designer
Reg Allen Set Decoration/Design
John A. Alonzo Cinematographer
Carl Anderson Production Designer
Gil Askey Score Composer
Chris Clark Screenwriter
Suzanne De Passe Screenwriter
David Dockendorf Sound/Sound Designer
Berry Gordy Producer
Norma Koch Costumes/Costume Designer
Bob Mackie Costumes/Costume Designer
Terence McCloy Screenwriter
Michel Legrand Score Composer
Argyle Nelson Editor
Don Schoenfeld Makeup
Charles C. Washburn Asst. Director
Jay Weston Producer
James S. White Producer

Customer Reviews

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Lady Sings the Blues 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great writing, great producing, great directing, great music, great acting. What a classic! Though this was Diana Ross first acting role, she handled it like a pro. She went from a child to an adult. She used a wide range of emotions. Sista girl, worked those addiction scenes like a pro. I believe given the right script, director, producer and cast, Diana Ross would give another stellar performance on the big screen! Miss Ross may I have your autograph, please!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Diana Ross surprised the public when she debuted in her first starring film role as Billie Holiday. She not only proved she could sing jazz, but that she had an amazingly natural acting talent. Rumor has it the only reason she didn't take home the best actress Oscar that year was because of the uninvited pressure Berry Gordy put on the academy voters. The film features a sexy Billy Dee Williams, and comic relief Richard Pryor and Scatman Crothers. The entire cast shines. Although Diana doesn't attempt to sound like Billie Holiday, and the film doesn't tell the exact story of her life (she actually had more than one romantic interest, for example), Lady Sings the Blues stands on its own as an engrossing story and one of the best films of the 70s, and showed the potential Diana had to offer as a leading lady. Unfortunately Diana's subsequent films (Mahogany, the Wiz, Out of Darkness and Double Platinum) didn't reach the superior quality of this one, despite their individual value. Now that "Lady" is finally on DVD, the world has a chance to once again re-experience the film's greatness. In addition there are extras, which make it a "must have" even moreso!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having been an avid fan of Diane's since the release of "Meet The Supremes" in 1962, I think this movie lacked alot of vision and forethought. It was rushed into production by Gordy hoping to cash in on the heighth of Diane's solo career and, wanting to branch out into the movie industry. Other than Diane's supurb singing the film was a total wash. Like the book of the same title, 'Lady' was full of untruths and misconcetions Billie didn't meet McKay for the first time until the early 1950's. Billie's piano man was never murdered while she stood by helplessly. Louis McKay himself was a drug addict,instead of the goodie two shoes we see in the film. If it showed the truth about Holiday, instead of the romantic twiddle we were subjected to, Diane would surly have won the Osacr that year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago