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Cabin in the Sky

Ethel Waters , Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson , Busby Berkeley , Vincente Minnelli    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Great Classic Film June 23 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
With today's "political correctness" this film doesnt stand a chance of being watched as it truly deserves. Its too bad, because this film is a VERY entertaining and heart warming experience.
I wasnt sure what to expect and I have to admit i was surprised when i found myself laughing at the humor in the film (no, it is NOT racist humor at ALL! ) For such an old 'period' film to be so entertaining, all the while keeping in line with the story and music, is a rare thing these days.
Being a BIG Duke Ellington fan I had to buy this Video. Ellington and crew put on a fine show, along with the supporting role by Louis Armstrong, (a funny role! ), and some great tap dancing and a swing dance piece with one of the several featured Ellington tunes. (Great Trombone solo by Lawrence Brown also. In addition to Brown, if you are sharp you can also catch Harry Carney(?) and Johnny Hodges in the Ellingotn Line up.)
I never imagined Lena Horne was so beautiful in her youth, but i must say "WOW"
This is a great movie with a STRONG message that each of us can learn from. You will be happy to have this in your collection!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music, great cast, Ethel Waters at her best Feb. 21 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This is a delightful film. The Broadway score, already one of the finer scores for its time, with the classics "Taking a chance on love" and "Cabin in the sky", was further improved with the addition of "Happiness is just a thing called Joe". There are several other wonderful numbers, including the Duke Ellington number with some great dancing, and "Bubbles" singing "Shine". The cast was the finest black talent of the day, and the movie demonstrates why Ethel Waters was considered the greatest singer and entertainer of her day. In this movie, she also demonstrates that she is a fine actress and a fine dancer. It's a pity that the racial climate of the time didn't allow her more films - she's as magical on screen as she was, by all reports, in person. The remainder of the cast includes a stunning young Lena Horne, surely one of the most beautiful women ever to appear on screen, and who is here allowed to be smolderingly sexy, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, who's an endearing Little Joe, Rex Ingram as Lucifer Jr, and smaller but memorable appearances by Louis Armstrong, Butterfly McQueen, and "Bubbles" of Buck and Bubbles. Seeing Waters sing "Taking a chance on love", "cabin in the sky", "Happiness is just a thing called Joe" and her wicked reprise of "Honey in the honeycomb", complete with some dance steps that will floor you, is more than enough to recommend the movie, but all performances are delightful, and the songs and background music are great. If we take it as a "fable", as we are counseled to do at the beginning, then I don't see it as a racist or dated film. The characters are almost all well delineated and believable within the "fable" context, and are no more stereotypical in this context than numerous films of white people at the time that were also fantasies. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars A TOUR-DE-FORCE OF TALENT FROM AN AMAZING CAST Oct. 13 2003
Format:VHS Tape
In these enlightened times, a movie such as Cabin in the Sky - which is heavily laden with racial stereotypes - seems awkwardly out of place. However, before we all jump on the political correctness bandwagon, it's worth remembering that the movie was made during WW2, and that Civil Rights Movements were some 20 or so years in the future.
Much has been written about the plot, so I won't focus on that. I will say, however, that this movie is a tour-de-force of talent. It marked Vincent Minelli's directorial debut, and it's clear that he did a fine job. Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Lena Horne and Ethel Waters all play their parts brilliantly. If there was any animosity between Lena and Ethel, it was easy to understand. Ethel fought tough and nail to climb the showbiz ladder, whereas Lena was the first African-American actress to be groomed specially for Hollywood. Ms Horne had specially designed gowns and mingled with the upper echelons of MGM. The moviemakers even created a special make up range for her in an effort to pass her off as an exotic Latin American belle. Lena refused to disrespect her race by denying her heritage.
Anyway, back to the film. It's Ethel Water's character, Petunia, that I warm to the most. She may have been downtrodden, and reduced to scrubbing floors. However, there's a down-to-earth warmth that radiates from her. Her rendition of "Happiness is a Thing Called Joe" is superb. The late Waters was a remarkable, versatile performer, and it's a shame that she's not as well known among the masses like Lena.
As for Lena's Georgia Brown, she's nothing short of breathtakingly beautiful. Ms Horne was something of a WW2 pin-up, and it's easy to see why. She tempts the viewers (and the censors, no doubt!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie Fo Sho Oct. 13 2003
By burch
Format:VHS Tape
Vincente Minnelli, who directed the film, Cabin in the Sky (1943), composed this 'race movie' with an all African American cast. What makes this film extraordinary is that Vincente Minnelli is a white director who filmed this picture with an all black cast. Around the early 1940's, mainstream production studios (Hollywood) noticed that these 'race movies' which consisted of African American directors/producers/casts, were producing huge sums of money. In an attempt to tap this newly discovered source of money, the mainstream film industry began to produce these race films which consisted of white directors/producers, but included an all African American cast. In Cabin in the Sky, Minnelli includes many social issues that black America faced during this time. A major issue that black America faced back in the 1940's and still today which Minnelli included in this film is obtaining identity/home.
An example of obtaining home can be explained by the scene where the character Little Joe (Eddie "Rochester" Anderson) dies and rises out of his body only to awake to the presence of Lucifer Jr. (Rex Ingram). As Lucifer Jr. describes to Little Joe all of the evil things that will come to him in Hell, Little Joe screams out, "I don't want to die, I just wanna' go back home to Petunia." In this scene, Little Joe identifies home as Earth, all the physical objects in which he can interact with (the absence of the spiritual world). Another example of home can be identified with the character Petunia (Ethel Waters) in the scene where she sits beside Little Joe next to him in his bed. Petunia preys to God to not take Little Joe home yet. In this scene, home is identified as the spiritual world, in which all the sins of the corrupt physical world would not exist.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment!!!!!
When we opened the DVD and popped in the player, it turned out to be a blank DVD!!! I went to the menu button and all was listed on this particular disk. Read more
Published on Dec 12 2011 by Dorothy L. Sayers
5.0 out of 5 stars Cabin in the Sky !!!!Fo Sho Baby!!!!!
Vincente Minnelli, who directed the film, Cabin in the Sky (1943), composed this 'race movie' with an all African American cast. Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2003 by burch
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music...
Great performances.Duke Ellington,Ethel Waters,Lena Horne.Doesn't get any better than that.
Published on March 21 2003 by ellafan
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing...
Despite the sterotypes,it was still a good movie. Especially with one of my favorite singer/actress MISS.LENA HORNE.
Beautiful,talented, and ageless until this day. Read more
Published on June 1 2002 by "stpaulhoney"
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't need color to feel the greatness of this movie
I believe all kids, teens, adults, and everyone in between should see this movie at least once in their lifetime. Read more
Published on Nov. 9 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Super!
I thought the movie was very entertaining, plus it was very clean--no four-letter words. I thought Ethel Waters was great and Lena Horne was just plain good lookin'. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent -- Great Swing Dance Scenes
The movie is kinda corny, but the acting isn't real bad, the Music is Good and some great Swing dance scenes. Very entertaing if you like Swing Music and that period of time.
Published on March 4 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun, spiritual journey!
It is one of those heartwarming movies, helping to make you feel comfertable with being human and spiritual.
Published on Dec 11 1998
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