cover The Josephine Baker Story

The death (possible murder) of Christopher Marlowe is one of the most fascinating of all true crimes. Set in Elizabethan London with a cast of characters that include William Shakespeare, "The Reckoning" provides a intriguing explantion for the events of that strange day when after hours of drink and talk, Kit Marlowe ended up dead, stabbed through the eye. The official story: a quarrel over the bill or reckoning. But mix in politics, espionage (Marlowe was a spy), homosexuality and literary genuis and the official story gets shaken to its tidy core. This is a very fine work, thoughtful, well-researched and crisp, capturing the time and place effectively and believably, and providing a rational context for the known events. Apart from the loss of Marlowe's death at the height of his genius, the story provides a compelling view of the murkier side of life among the young bloods of the aging Elizabeth's world. Not only a class A unsolved mystery, "The Reckoning" is also important resource for serious readers of late 16th c. poetry and drama. NB: Marlowe is the only playwrite Shakespeare quoted in one of his own works -- a sign of respectful rivalry.

Zou Zou

42ND STREET meets FOOTLIGHT PARADE French-style, with Baker cast as a Creole laundress. In the best backstage musical tradition, she replaces a temperamental performer in a stage revue and captivates the crowd in a star-making turn. Overly familiar story line is helped by fast pace, and engaging musical numbers: how can you top Baker, covered in feathers and perched on a swing?.

The Josephine Baker Story

Princess Tam Tam


This 1935 variation on Pygmalion is a clever French vehicle for Josephine Baker, the Missouri woman who found stardom in Paris as a dancer and singer. The black performer plays an African shepherd, Alwina, a wild and exotic creature who meets a celebrity novelist, Max (Albert Prejean), the latter in a desperate search for inspiration. He finds it in a bemused notion to polish away Alwina's earthy sexuality and turn her into a princess presentable to upper-crust Parisian society. Meanwhile, Max's estranged wife, Lucie (Germaine Aussey), has concocted an affair with a black prince, thus giving the City of Lights much to buzz about when both spouses turn up as separate halves of interracial couples. Career director Edmond T. Greville (The Hands of Orlac) brings a light touch to Princess Tam Tam, only his fifth film of many, and the Continental wit on display is occasionally comparable to some of Ernst Lubitsch's best ideas. Baker trills and leaps about and dances during a few scenes, and does exceedingly well in the Eliza Doolittle-like part.

Intimate Portrait: Josephine Baker


From an early age, Josephine Baker knew what she wanted and did whatever it took to get it. Whether building her career or her family, Baker heeded no one's advice but her own, becoming one of the world's highest-paid performers, adopting 12 children into her "Rainbow Tribe," losing her fortune, then returning triumphantly to the stage just days before her death in 1975. Intimate Portrait: Josephine Baker, narrated by Arsenio Hall, captures Baker's sex appeal, energy, determination, and the important legacy she left behind for women performers in all media. Blending rarely seen dance clips, archived interview footage, and commentary by choreographer Debbie Allen, actress Lynn Whitfield (who portrayed Baker in The Josephine Baker Story), and two of Baker's sons, this exquisitely choreographed video reveals more sides to Baker's life than one would have thought possible in an hour.

Josephine Baker Story (1991) - Spanish subtitles