Beale Street Blues


fye.000000400065673742 10/29/96 Used

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Born in 1895, Alberta Hunter first rose to fame as a blues singer in the early '20s; Louis Armstrong, Eubie Blake, and Sidney Bechet all played on her records, she headlined nightclubs in the United States and Europe, and starred with Paul Robeson in the British production of Showboat in 1928. In 1956, after almost 35 years in show business, Hunter decided to retire from performing, and took a job as a nurse. In 1977, the hospital where she worked, believing her to be 65 years old (they were off by 17 years), gave her mandatory retirement. With little to do, Hunter began performing at a night spot in New York's Greenwich Village called the Cookery; singing with even greater force and personality than she had in her youth, Hunter's shows wowed jazz critics, and she went on to record three successful albums for Columbia Records and score the film Remember My Name before she passed on in 1984. Alberta Hunter: My Castle's Rockin' is a warm and fascinating portrait of Hunter's personal and professional lives, featuring plenty of footage of the ageless diva performing for an enthusiastic audience. Billy Taylor narrates. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Review Text This documentary (narrated by Billy Taylor) traces the remarkable life of singer Alberta Hunter, who had a major comeback at age 82 after 20 years out of the music business. There are some brief interviews, but the bulk of the film features Hunter performing at the Cookery in the early '80s. She is quite appealing and seemingly ageless on such tunes as "My Castle's Rockin'," "Downhearted Blues," "Handy Man," and "The Love I Have for You." ~ Scott Yanow

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MPAA Rating
NR -- Not rated
57 minutes

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