Conceived as a television miniseries, this portrait of the epochal Motown vocal group scores as one of the most detailed re-creations of the '60s pop milieu ever filmed. Told largely through the eyes of founding member O... more »tis Williams (Charles Malik Whitfield), The Temptations portrays its protagonists as soul Everymen whose early triumphs closely followed, and helped expand, Motown Records' emergence as "the Sound of Young America," providing an inspirational fable for black Americans. Inevitably, of course, the story is also a cautionary tale about the price of success for both the Temps and their mentor, Motown founder Berry Gordy (Obba Babatunde). With hit records and tours, Williams and his partners grapple with drugs, alcohol, depression, jealousy, and delusions of grandeur. In particular, the galvanic lead singer David Ruffin (Leon) serves as both a focal strength and potential destroyer for the group, as his ego combines with a mounting cocaine habit to create a monster. At the same time, Gordy's eventual decision to leave his and the label's home, Detroit, for Los Angeles marks a loss of innocence for the group and their label-mates. The film provides ample insider detail about how the former Ford assembly-line worker created and controlled his unique hit factory. Based on the biography coauthored by Williams and former manager Shelly Berger, the project gets a vital boost from behind the camera, thanks to executive producer Suzanne DePasse, herself a former Motown exec, and director Allan Arkush (Rock 'n' Roll High School). That lineage probably pulls some punches in terms of individual characters and Gordy's machinations, but it also affords The Temptations its convincing detail, as does the generous running time--a mixed blessing, due to the original two-part broadcast, which might have benefited from tightening for this video version. Giving the show its greatest kick are the group's original hits, performed and choreographed convincingly in lip-synched sequences. --Sam Sutherland« less
FICTIONALIZED TEMPTATIONS STORY STILL PULLS AT HEARTSTRINGS
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, I just want to warn everybody that I am I die-hard Temptations fan, so I am bound to be critical of this movie...For the most part, I had no problem with the casting of the film. David Ruffin, who is portrayed by the actor Leon, is absolutely incredible. Same for newcomer Christian Payton, who played the supremely talented but tragedy-bound Paul Williams. My problem with the film is that a lot of it was "based on fact" and not the true story of the group. Only a true Temptation fan would know that, for instance, when the Tempts reunited for their tour in the 1980's, they did not play the Copa. The Copa would not have been big enough to hold all the people that came out for that one night only appearance. It was at NYC'S Radio City Music Hall, which was sold out! I should know because I was there. Also Melvin Franklin did not die in Detroit at his mom's house. He died in a hospital in Los Angeles. And another thing, the fight scene between Paul and Al Bryant (Chaz Lamar Shepard) was somewhat twisted...what happened in reality was that Paul and the other Tempts were the ones who were tired and didn't want to do any more encores, and Al was the one who wanted to go back out on stage. Paul and Al argued about it, and Al then attacked Paul with the beer bottle...Well, even with all these faults, I still felt misty eyed by the end of the film. For new Tempts fans, I'd recommend it, but it's not the true story...we old Tempts fans are just glad to see something done on the greatest male R&B group EVER. Even with its faults, it's still an engaging film...especially the scene with the guys debuting at the Copa in '67. They really looked like the originals!!!!"
GREAT BIO PIC...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 03/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a lengthy, made for television, feature film that runs nearly three hours. The time will zoom by, as this is an engaging, well-acted production about one of Motown's earliest successes, "The Temptations". The story of this group is told primarily through the eyes of Otis Williams, one of its founding fathers and the true linchpin of the group, as well as its last surviving member. The film details the group's struggle for success from its down and out early days to the pinnacle of success and its eventual induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The songs that propelled "The Temptations" to stardom are capably lip-synched by its talented cast. The viewer sees the beginning of the group in the nineteen fifties and its subsequent rise to fame and fortune. After being signed up by Motown, the future of "The Temptations" was almost assured, given the resources that Motown's music mogul, Barry Gordy, allotted to their development. Once they were a success, crossover was inevitable for such a talented group, and "The Temptations" became a huge hit in mainstream America.
The film details the personal highs and lows of the individual members of the group. Alcoholism, drug use, egotism, and other personal travails would plague its members and, consequently, the group. At times, the group would appear to be on the verge of a total split, especially when its cocaine craving, lead singer, David Ruffin, began making ego fueled demands. Still, the temptations endured, because no one member was bigger than the group. They began as a group, and it is the group that would endure. Though individual members would come and go, the group itself always remained "The Temptations".
This is an excellent bio pic with great music. It is a film that is worthy of being in one's personal collection."
Two thumbs up for Leon and Christian Payton!!
Noah Imanu Brown (Singer4Jesus@hotm | Champaign, IL | 05/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oh my!!! This movie is a great review of the Temptations Legacy! I have to say, though, the television version (the longer version) captures some great and dramatic footage that the video doesn't. Take, for instance, when they were having the party at "Mama Rose's" house, and Paul started singing the song "For Once In My Life" while sloshy drunk. That scene was so dramatic and tear-jerking because even though I'm only 23 years old, I saw the Temptations with the Supremes on TCB and Paul tore that song up! His voice was so great on that show, y'all!! When he sang at the party, it was heart-breaking and tragic. You felt the stress and sorrow in his voice!! Anyway, the movie is fabulous. The actors really portray the Temptations well!!! Leon - the one who played David Ruffin - was exact and to the point. And some people don't know this, but on some of the songs, it was Leon's real voice! Songs like "Shout," and "Beauty's Only Skin Deep." Leon can sing, but I guess he prefers acting. All of the actors portrayed their characters well, but I have to give it to Leon and Christian Payton. Their portrayals of David Ruffin and Paul Williams were to a T. My being a singer myself, I would love to meet Christian Payton and sing a song with him. His voice is real good, and sounded so much like Paul's voice. Hopefully, the TV version will aire again, so we can see the WHOLE movie! Also, hopefully soon, Suzanne DePasse will come out with a movie on the Supremes. So many people are wondering about that. You know, the woman sitting by Melvin Franklin on the second Motor Town Review (from the movie) sipping on a drink while the song "Heatwave" was playing would be a good candidate for the character of Florence Ballard for the Supremes movie. She looks so much like her! Or Faith Evans could play Flo also... Anyway, back to the Temptations. Buy the video! It is worth it. It will mak you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you sing and rejoice, it will make you go out and buy albums from the Temptations! Two thumbs up and five stars for all of the actors, but mainly for Leon and Christian Payton. Because of the movie, Christian might land a record deal! Well, see you all and be blessed on today! Noah Imanu Brown Singer4Jesus@hotmail.com"
In Love With Temptations
victoria brown | Thibodaux, LA USA | 10/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think I am The biggest fan of the movie. It was too good to be true. I watch it every day, and my whole family has gotten hooked on it. i fell in love with all of them but I especially like Eddie Kendricks(Terron Brooks), I wish I could find out more about him. He played the part too good. wherever you are Terron, Please e-mail me. You are the greatest actor ever. The whole movie made cry and laugh. I could never get tired of it. The unedited version was much better. i wish they would play it again. I congragulate Christian Payton and Leon for playing your parts so well. The singing justs makes me melt. Whomever choose the actors i congrgulate you also. This movie will be next to me forever. It made me want to find out about the real Temptations. I'mplanning on buying the book and their other videos. I already have the CD's. Everyone out there should see this movie and how great it is. NDelco100@excite.com"
I Love This Movie! But Want the Uncut Version.
Tarcia Bush | Charlotte,NC | 03/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was truly one of the best movies I have ever seen. I stumbled upon it one Sunday night when it premiered and was hooked. I was not around during the height of their career, but was very familiar with their music. I am now a fan for life.The lip synching, dancing, everything was so real. Terron Brooks (Eddie Kendricks) and Leon (David Ruffin) played their characters excellently! In fact, all of the characters were great! I have watched this movie over and over again. You don't have to be a fan of the group or their music to find this movie entertaining.But I would like to know why this movie was edited from the version that aired on T-V. If anyone has a copy of that version, please email me. I will gladly pay for a copy.I highly recommend this movie for anyone! I loved it!If you've seen it, my favorite line is Leon as David Ruffin telling "Otis" and "Melvin" why the group should be called David Ruffin and the Temptations... "ain't nobody comin' to see you Otis." I love the way he says that line.Enjoy!"