Review of "Sparkle" 4 From The TV MegaSite
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Review by Suzanne 1/14/07

Sparkle (1976)

Sparkle DVD cover

"Sparkle" is a 70's period piece and an enjoyable musical. It tries to be a very serious look at life in the ghetto, but the bouncy songs keep it from being too depressing.

Effie is a single woman in Harlem with three daughters, The oldest one is "Sister", who is supposedly the prettiest of the girls; she pretends to be very worldly but falls for the wrong man and gets into a lot of trouble. The middle sister is not as important of a character as the others, but she doesn't like that Effie works as a maid for the white man. Sparkle is the youngest and most innocent (played by "Fame"'s Irene Cara). She worships Sister but ends up being a bigger star. The story is also about the men in their lives and all the mistakes they make in trying to become big shots. Phillip Michael Thomas, who later went on to much bigger fame in "Miami Vice", plays Sparkle's ambitious boyfriend Stix.

Some of the dialogue is a big dated, but that's part of the fun of watching this, along with the songs. The songs were written by 70's soulmesiter Curtis Mayfield.

Comparisons have been made between this and the musical "Dreamgirls". The fact that Broadway's Dreamgirls is now a movie is no doubt the reason they brought "Sparkle" out on DVD at the same time.

The disk doesn't have many DVD extras (just a trailer), there is a separate CD of 5 of the movie's songs, sung by Aretha Franklin. That is great to have, but it would have been nicer to see some interviews, most of which are alive. Maybe they are saving that for a "special" version of the DVD.

The movie is entertaining and worth watching. The ending is a little unbelievable, but it is definitely uplifting.


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Updated 1/14/07 

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