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Porgy and Bess (1959)

A woman whose past is scorned by nearly everyone around her meets a man who'd love her regardlessly- if only everyone else would allow them to.

Directors:

Otto Preminger, Rouben Mamoulian (uncredited)

Writers:

Dorothy Heyward (play), DuBose Heyward (libretto) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sidney Poitier ... Porgy
Dorothy Dandridge ... Bess
Sammy Davis Jr. ... Sportin' Life
Pearl Bailey ... Maria
Brock Peters ... Crown
Leslie Scott Leslie Scott ... Jake
Diahann Carroll ... Clara
Ruth Attaway Ruth Attaway ... Serena Robbins
Claude Akins ... Detective
Clarence Muse ... Peter
Everdinne Wilson Everdinne Wilson ... Annie
Joel Fluellen Joel Fluellen ... Robbins
Earl Jackson Earl Jackson ... Mingo
Moses LaMarr Moses LaMarr ... Nelson
Margaret Hairston Margaret Hairston ... Lily
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Storyline

In this legendary Gershwin opera set among the black residents of a fishing village in 1912 South Carolina, Bess - a woman with a disreputable history - tries to break free from her brutish lover Crown after he becomes wanted for murder. The only person willing to overlook her past and offer her shelter is the crippled Porgy. Their relationship is threatened by the disapproval of the townspeople, the presence of her old drug supplier Sportin' Life - and the threatened return of Crown. Written by scgary66

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Goldwyn Touch!...more dramatic than ever before! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 October 1959 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Porgy y Bess See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Reputedly, Frank Sinatra put considerable pressure on Samuel Goldwyn and Otto Preminger to cast Sammy Davis, Jr. See more »

Quotes

[Clara seeing that the storm is coming, Maria comes to her]
Maria: Why have you been out standing on the street has the water so long, Clara?
Clara: It's getting dark. I hate to think of Jake out there, when it gets dark in the daytime.
Maria: You got no cause to worry about you, ma'am.
Clara: I've never see the water look so black. Just sitting there and waiting and holding its breath. Waiting for the hurricane bell.
Maria: Hurricane bell? Lord, child, there ain't going be no hurricane. I'm getting old now and I haven't heard ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Although this film has never been officially released on any home media format, numerous bootleg copies, running 115 minutes, are available on VHS and DVD-R. The full-length original version runs 138 minutes, not including overture and entr'acte music. See more »

Connections

Featured in American Masters: Goldwyn: The Man and His Movies (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Morning Sounds
(from an idea by Rouben Mamoulian) and "Good Mornin', Sistuh"
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by DuBose Heyward
Sung by The Ken Darby Singers
Performed by workers and Sung by Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This is one you never forget.
25 November 2004 | by armoth-1See all my reviews

I saw this on television more years ago than I can remember, but never forgot the performance of Sammy Davis, Jr. I just by chance thought to look for it on video. This rendition of Porgy and Bess is a treasure. I would love to see it again and introduce my son to it as well. I just can't imagine why it is not heralded as one of the greatest performances Sammy Davis, Jr. every gave. Whoever is responsible for not bringing this to audiences should be ashamed of his/her ignorance. I will continue to look for it though. Maybe the execs responsible for such things will come to realize the forgotten work of so many African American actors.


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