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Cinema Village

A Star Without a Star: The Untold Juanita Moore Story

(NR) 90 min
  • DIRECTOR: KRK E. KELLEYKAHN
  • STARRING: JUANITA MOORE, SIDNEY POITIER, LOUISE FLETCHER, SUSAN KOHNER, ART EVANS, T'KEYAH CRYSTAL KEYMAH, LYNN HAMILTON, AMENTHA DYMALLY, PAUL WEITZ & KIRK E. KELLEYKAHN

SHOWTIMES 11/30/2022 (change date):

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Synopsis:

A GROUP OF UNKNOWNS NOTICED THAT A LEGENDARY ACTRESS HAD NO “STAR” ON HOLLYWOOD’S WALK OF FAME.

WE FOLLOW THE CAREER OF THIS PIONEER. WHY NO STAR? 

WATCH AS WE UNRAVEL THIS STORY AND HER CAREER TO TRY AND MAKE SENSE OF IT ALL.

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Reviews

Overall Rating Based on 1 Review
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Current Reviews
JOHN FRANCIS FOX
5 out of 5 stars

BRILLIANT DOCUMENTARY WITH A FEW UNFORTUNATE OMISSIONS

November 23, 2022
I HOPE THAT EVERONE WILL TAKE TIME OUT FROM THEIR HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES TO SEE THIS BRILLIANT DOCUMENTARY. I REALLY WANT TO COMMEND DIRECTOR KRK E. KELLYKHAN FOR MENTIONING OSCAR MICHIEUX BECAUSE HE CONTRIBUTED SUCH A VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION TO FILM HISTORY- ESPECIALLY WITH "SYMBOLS OF THE UNCONQUERED." THIS DOCUMENTARY ALSO HAD A VERY SPECIAL MEANING FOR ME BECAUSE ONE OF MY FAVORITE MEMORIES OF MOVIE-GOING WAS SEEING A SCREENING OF "IMITATION OF LIFE" AT THE OLD LIMELIGHT THEATER, AND THEN HEARING MS. MOORE AND SUSAN KOHNER BE INTERVIEWED BY PRESTON HIRSCH AFTER THE SCREENING. IT WAS AN EVEN GREATER PRIVILEGE TO ASK MS. MOORE A QUESTION DURING THE Q &A , AND THEN BE ABLE TO GET AUTOGRAPHS FROM BOTH OF THEM AFTER THE Q & A. I ALSO REMEMBER AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN GENTLEMAN SAYING DURING THE Q & A THAT HE PREFERRED THE ORIGINAL VERSION BECAUSE IT REFLECTED MORE OF THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. ALTHOUGH I SUPPOSE THAT WAS TRUE, I ALSO THOUGHT THAT THE REMAKE MADE A VERY STRONG STATEMENT AGAINST RACISM- ESPECIALLY IN THE SCENE BETWEEN MS. KOHNER AND TROY DONAHUE. AND DOUGLAS SIRK REALLY ENHANCED THE SENTIMENTAL SIDE OF THE STORY- ESPECIALLY DURING MAHALIA JACKSON'S RENDITION OF "TROUBLE IN THE WORLD" WHILE WE SAW THE ATTENDANTS AT THE FUNERAL CRYING THEIR EYES OUT. THERE ARE A FEW POINTS I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE ABOUT THE FILM. ONE IS THAT MS. KOHNER WAS REFERRED TO AS "WHITE" EVEN THOUGH HER MOTHER WAS MEXICAN, WHICH ACTUALLY MAKES HER BIRACIAL. ALSO, I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HAVE SEEN AT LEAST ONE CLIP FROM THE ORIGINAL VERSION. BUT I LIKED IT WHEN LOUISE FLECHER MENTIONED THAT SO MANY AFRICAN-AMERICAN ACTRESSES- INCLUDING MS. MOORE- WERE UNCREDITED IN THEIR FILM ROLES. THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS EXAMPLE OF THAT WAS WHEN FRANCES E WILLIAMS FAILED TO GET A SCREEN CREDIT WHEN SHE PLAYED QUEENIE IN THE 3RD FILM VERSION OF "SHOWBOAT"- AND THAT WAS AS LATE AS 1951. IT WAS PARTICULARLY TROUBLING BECAUSE MS. WILLIAMS HAD GIVEN AN EXCELLENT, NON-STEREOTYPICAL PERFORMANCE AS A MAID TWO YEARS EARLIER IN "THE RECKLESS MOMENT." THAT WAS THE SAME YEAR THAT ETHEL WATERS RECEIVED A NOMINATION FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS FOR PLAYING THE GRANDMOTHER IN "PINKY." WE SAW A VERY BRIEF CLIP FROM THAT FILM, WHICH SHOWED MS. WATERS AT THE BOTTOM AND SIDE OF A STAIRCASE, LOOKING UP AT MS. MOORE WHEN SHE WAS DELIVERING HER LINES, BUT THERE WAS NO MENTION OF HER NOMINATION OR OF STARRING IN THE TV SERIES "BEULAH" ONE YEAR LATER. THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN ACTRESS STARRED IN A TV SERIES, AND IT WAS ALSO THE TV SHOW ON WHICH LESLIE UGGAMS STARTED HER CAREER. I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HAVE SEEN MS. MOORE WIN AN OSCAR FOR "IMITATION OF LIFE" BUT I THINK THAT PUTTING BOTH MS. KOHNER AND HER IN THE SUPPORTING ACTRESS CATEGORY HURT BOTH OF THEIR CHANCES. I HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT IT WOULD HAVE MADE MORE SENSE TO HAVE MS. MOORE NOMINATED IN THE BEST ACTRESS CATEGORY. IT CERTAINLY WOULD HAVE MADE MORE SENSE THAN NOMINATING DORIS DAY FOR HER LIGHTWEIGHT PERFORMANCE IN "PILLOW TALK." ALSO, I THINK THAT MS. MOORE MAY HAVE MADE A MISTAKE WHEN SHE SAID THAT THE ACADEMY LET SHELLEY WINTERS CHANGE HER ELIGIBILITY FOR BEST ACTRESS TO BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN ORDER TO INCREASE HER CHANCES AT WINNING AN OSCAR. I DON'T THINK THAT MS. WINTERS WOULD HAVE BEEN ELIGIBLE FOR BEST ACTRESS BECAUSE MILLIE PERKINS WAS THE LEAD ACTRESS IN "THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK." IN ANY CASE, I'VE NEBER HEARD OF THE ACADEMY LETTING ANY ACTOR OR ACTRESS CHANGE THEIR CATEGORY. I ALSO WOULD HAVE LIKED A LITTLE MORE COVERAGE OF THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN ACTORS AND ACTRESSES WHO PRECEDED MS. MOORE IN FILMS. WE SAW A VERY BRIEF CLIP OF HATTIE MC DANIEL AND LINCOLN PERRY FROM ONE OF MR. PERRY'S "STEPIN FETCHIT" FILMS, BUT THERE WAS NO MENTION THAT MR. PERRY PLAYED JOE IN THE FIRST FILM VERSION OF "SHOWBOAT" OR THAT HIS SINGING VOICE WAS DUBBED BY JULES BLEDSOE, WHO ORIGINATED THE PART OF JOE IN THE FIRST BROADWAY PRODUCTION. THERE WAS NO MENTION THAT MS. MC DANIEL COSTARRED AS QUEENIE IN THE SECOND FILM VERSION, IN WHICH PAUL ROBESON COSTARRED AS JOE (MR. ROBESON ALSO PLAYED JOE IN THE FIRST BROADWAY REVIVAL, AND IN THE FIRST LONDON PRODUCTION). I ALSO WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HEAR THEM MENTION WILLIAM WARFIELD, WHO PLAYED JOE IN THE THIRD FILM VERSION. AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, MS. MOORE, LOUISE BEAVERS, FREDDIE WASHINGTON, MR. ROBESON, MR. WARFIELD, AND MS. WILLIAMS ALL DESERVE TO HAVE STARS ON THE HOLLYWOOD PAVEMENT. THAT MAKES A LOT MORE SENSE THAN GIVING STARS TO THE CARTOON FIGURES WHO HAVE THEM!

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