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Porgy and Bess (1958)

Producer Samuel Goldwyn, one of the men who shaped Hollywood, bowed out at the age of 75 with this film version of the George and Ira Gershwin-Dubose Heyward folk opera about crippled Porgy, his girl Bess and the inhabitants of Catfish Row.

The familiar music, given Oscar-winning treatment by André Previn and Ken Darby, is gloriously intact. However, despite a starry cast of principals (Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis Jr, Brock Peters, Diahann Carroll, Pearl Bailey), the result disappoints.

Otto Preminger’s direction is heavy-handed, the singing not as good as it should be, and the whole production too lavish to convince as a poignant tale of slum life.

Porgy
Sidney Poitier
Bess
Dorothy Dandridge
Sportin’ Life
Sammy Davis Jr
Maria
Pearl Bailey
Crown
Brock Peters
Jake
Leslie Scott
Clara
Diahann Carroll
Serena
Ruth Attaway

Director
Otto Preminger