Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Josephine Baker Collection |
Zou Zou / Princess Tam Tam / Siren of the Tropics
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Kino International Release Date: 05/15/2007
Sultry and sensual Josephine Baker
Stephen H. Wood | South San Francisco, CA | 06/06/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE JOSEPHINE BAKER COLLECTION from Kino Video contains the silent film, SIREN OF THE TROPICS (1927, French), with orchestra score; and two legendary sound films, ZOU ZOU (1934, French) and PRINCESS TAM TAM (1935, French). Baker was an exuberant and uninhibited cabaret singer and dancer at Paris' Folies Bergere who sometimes only wore bananas and feathers on stage. These three film classics are a lot of fun.
SIREN OF THE TROPICS has a prospector sending his employee from France to the Caribbean, where the employee falls in love with Papitou (Baker), a free-spirited jungle animal. The duo find themselves back in Paris, where Papitou is the star of the Folies Bergere. She slowly becomes aware that her lover is betrothed to another woman. With exotic color tints, SIREN is sensual and entertaining. It ends with Baker doing the Charleston. This was her film debut. She was already a Folies star.
ZOU ZOU teams Baker with Jean Gabin and marked Baker's talking film debut. It is kind of like 42ND STREET, with Josephine the exuberant ingenue taking the place of an arrogant and undependable lead dancer in a Paris revue. The classic climax has Baker dressed in feathers and singing the unforgettable "Haiti" while on a swing inside a giant bird cage! In none of these three films does Josephine end up with the male lead, instead finding show business success.
PRINCESS TAM TAM is set in North Africa, where an author with writer's block uses Alwina (Josephine Baker) as inspiration for a PYGMALION-like novel. But his wife thinks he really loves Alwina and sets out to make him jealous and Alwina look stupid. The dazzling musical numbers here include "Dream Ship", "'Neath the Tropical Blue Skies," and a champagne-laced nightclub climax dressed in just a negligee. Again, I think Alwina ends up a Folies star in Paris and the author goes back to his wife.
All three of these movies have a Josephine Baker 20 minute conversation--"The Performer," "The Woman," and "The Films." Commenting are beautiful actress Lynn Whitfield (THE JOSEPHINE BAKER STORY), drama critics Elizabeth Kendall and Margo Jefferson, and Baker's adopted chef son. The two sound films have isolated song selections, while SIREN has several fun bonuses. THE JOSEPHINE BAKER COLLECTION has beautiful prints and offers an enjoyable three nights of entertainment.