Plot: What’s it about?
While Dorothy Dandridge (Halle Berry) had a lot of success in the entertainment business, this film seems to make her seem like a loser. I mean, she got nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, what more can you want? At any rate, this movie follows Dorothy as she progresses through life, which doesn’t make for an interesting couple of hours, believe me. We see her and her sister when they are young, and we watch Dorothy as she grows up and soon marries a dancer, but their child is born mentally retarded. She soon meets a manager (Brent Spiner) who pushes her into the limelight, and she is soon hearing the call of the movie business, eventually garnering a Best Actress Oscar nomination. But we don’t just see the good times, we also watch as Dorothy has to put up with bad treatment from some folks, because of her color. The pain and heartache (give me a break) of a few mean people cause her to overload and the results are disastrous.
This made for cable movie has been praised by many, so I was curious to see if the hype was deserved. Well, I have to admit, this is one of the worst of the made for cable movies I have ever seen. I mean, I understand that the budgets involved are less than Hollywood blockbusters, but this movie seems more like a junior high production than a real movie. The story is true and somewhat interesting, but it makes Dandridge appear to be a robbed saint or something, and the film hammers home the point way too hard. A little subtlety can go a long way, but this film opts to cram it’s message down your throat. So what promised to be a wonderful little movie ended up to be just another subpar HBO original picture. While HBO could have increased attention to the disc by including some nice extras, they decided to only include talent files. I guess they knew this one didn’t deserve the time and money as well as I did. I do recommend you rent this film if the concept strikes a chord with you, but be warned, this one is vastly overrated.
This film was based on the novel by Earl Mills, and directed by Martha Coolidge. How Coolidge let herself get sucked into this, I will never know. After such enjoyable films as Real Genius and Valley Girl, not to mention the television series Sledgehammer, this made for cable flick has placed a blemish on her record in my mind. Please Martha, return to teen comedy, you’re a natural for the genre. Perhaps one reason I didn’t like this film is the acting, which is downright awful, to be frank. While critics seemed to fall all over Halle Berry’s performance, I thought she reeked as usual. Berry (The Flintstones) is best suited for smaller supporting roles, she falters here in a big way, and cannot carry the film. Not helping matters is Brent Spiner (Star Trek’s Data), who seems just as robotic here as he does on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The supporting cast includes Klaus Maria Brandauer, Obba Babatunde, Alexis Carrington, and Loretta Divine.
Video: How does it look?
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge is presented in the original full frame aspect ratio, just as it was broadcast on HBO. Since this is a made for cable film, the image is not as sharp or defined as a motion picture, but it still looks good. There are some minor compression errors as well as some grain present, but aside from that, the image is very good. The colors are bright and flesh tones are natural, and contrast seems to be correct, though the grain sometimes softens the black areas.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is dialogue for the most part, but the surrounds will pick when the musical numbers take the stage. This is a 2.0 surround track, but the music sounds fantastic, some of the best I’ve heard from a non 5.1 audio track. The dialogue remains clear and audible at all times, this is a fine audio presentation.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release contains talent files, and a couple bonus trailer, neither of which are for this film.