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Charles Malik Whitfield , D.B. Woodside , Allan Arkush    Unrated   VHS Tape
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)

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The soap-opera career of Motown's most successful group, the Temptations, lends credence to the old belief that great art comes from troubled lives. Over three decades, the band struggled through numerous ego trips, countless members, broken relationships, coke addiction, alcoholism, suicide, cancer, deadly arthritis--in short, all the melodramatic devices necessary for a TV miniseries. This two-and-a-half-hour docudrama touches on all of these personal tragedies, but unfortunately forgets the real reason for the strength of the story: the music. Sure, there's wonderful reenactments of the quintet's finest material, such as "My Girl," "Just My Imagination," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and "The Way You Do the Things You Do," all performed with the slick choreography and shimmering vocal harmonies that made the band legendary. But, unfortunately, director Allan Arkush (Rock and Roll High School) and writers Kevin Arkadie and Robert Johnson forget to put the music into any historical perspective. Why were the Temptations so important? What was their contribution to pop music? By watching this saccharine, manipulative exposé, you'd never know. The performances are nonetheless terrific, especially Charles Malik Whitfield as leader (and narrator) Otis Williams, D.B. Woodside as his partner, Melvin Franklin, and Leon as the group's talented livewire, David Ruffin. The DVD edition offers several fine features including 2.0 Dolby Surround Sound, a discography, cast and crew profiles, extensive production notes, and most important, the ability to jump to any of the seven songs performed... basically the main reason to watch this epic. --Dave McCoy

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an amazing movie July 13 2004
i have to be honest i really wasn't all that interested in the movie,at first anyway...i first saw the movie while i was in the wonderful city of detroit, michigan... i went to hitsville, usa,(the motown museum), i found the location where paul williams shot himself, where david ruffin was buried, where all five the the classic five lived, and basically roamed their old stomping grounds. this was an amazing experience for me, probably the most interesting... during all of this chaos of me getting all exited about everything there is to see in detroit, i had the honor of speaking with one of david ruffin's children, david ruffin jr. well that topped it all off...this was all before i watched the movie, so of course i didn't know how truly amazing it was standing in studio a where they recorded until i watched the movie... i was bawling by the end, it was an amazing movie although it isn't all completely true, like on the new years scene al really sent paul to the hospital, and melvin really passed on in a hospital in los angeles, it was the best movie i've seen... so to all the actors who where in this movie, you really gave me a completely different look at motown, thank you otis, and everyone who produced the movie... and i have to say, Leon, you were wonderful in the five heart beats, little richard, i have watched your movies, you're an amazing actor and i hope to see you in more movies in the future...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is one of the greatest movies of all times! The characters come alive. As I watch it, I have to remind myself that the characters on the television are not the real Temptations. It is spooky, but I get a selfish satisfaction knowing that I can experience the beauty and the sadness of the Temptations whenever I choose. My ten-year-old is even hooked on it. We watch it at least once a week and he swears that he sings like Eddie and Paul! In fact, he does. Go figure! It gives me comfort to know that the genius of The Temptations has been integrated into another, younger generation.
What makes this movie so wonderful is that it takes us back to the times when music really meant something and touched us on a deeper level. Each time that I watch it I am transported to a time when the melody of a voice could melt away the pains of a troubled society. Don't get me wrong, there were problems with segregation and wars, but there was an innocence that I long to return to. I hope that Paul, David, Eddie, and Melvin are resting in peace. Their music changed the face of entertainment and now their stories have truly changed my perception of the world.
I say all of this to say that this movie is a must have for Temptations fans as well as for those who want a break from all of the ugliness in the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably The Best Movie Ever April 20 2004
I don't know where to begin. This movie is so unbelievably awesome on so many levels. I rank it up there with Titanic and Pretty Woman, no, you know what - this movie is better. The cast is superb, not only acting but dancing AND SINGING. Props should be given to the actors who re-recorded basically ALL of the songs in THEIR OWN voices, especially Terron Brooks and Christian Payton - this fact seems to be overlooked often or not known.
Along with the great performances from all of the characters, especially Leon, Christian, Terron, Charles and DB, the film-making was top notch.
Scenes so unforgettable that point out the skill of film-making is of course the wonderful part where the Tempts are in B/W on TV performing 'My Girl' and then they fade into color. This is so genius and gets me every time.
Also the scene where they kick David out of the band and the four of them are facing the window. Then Paul turns the other way, and you can see the camera in slow motion pausing for effect as if to say, 'Paul, you are next'. Pure genius.
And of course my favorite part of all, the nostalgic end, where after all of the original Tempts have now died except Otis, it is haunting how they are seemingly 'resurrected', shown in all of their purple glory. They are performing 'My Girl' as if from heaven along with sad narration from Otis. After their exquisitely choreographed TO-THE-NINES performance, they bow, and Otis saying, "Temptations (pause -voice breaks) Forever" makes me tear up every time. That is so awesome. This is what filmmaking should be about.
I know that there are people complaining about the accuracy of the film and I understand their gripes, but all films based on real life usually change stuff up for 'dramatic effect'. In this case, it works extremely well and is probably the factor that makes this movie a TOTAL CLASSIC.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie--From the Heart April 16 2004
Format:VHS Tape
I must admit, I was just a kid when the Tempts hit their stride, but became a fan in later years, and a fanatic after I saw the movie last year(2003). I think I have watched it to the point where I could play a few roles myself, and I have showed the movie to friends as well, and will NOT let anyone borrow it. This is a warm, feel-good movie that brings forth heartfelt joy, as well as the ability to draw tears, as at Melvin's funeral. It also draws multiple watchers of the movie into strong unity and solidarity. One of the positive features of the movie is its ability to show how drugs and alcohol can not only ruin unity but friendships and careers as well. It is a powerful movie to show to addicts, who can see for themselves the heights, as well as the depths that are brought on by these two curses to humanity. The music is, of course, fantastic and nostalgic. The acting is superb, and choreography the bomb. It is basically "safe" to show anyone, as it is not overwhelmed by cursing and vulgarity, and there is no nudity in the film. I recommend this movie to everybody. It's a true joy.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This concert was very informative and chock full of great music which brings back many memories of my teenage years.
Published 8 months ago by M. A. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Leon Is Great as David Ruffin
I have always had a soft spot for The Temptations with David Ruffin and Leon gives a chilling performance of the man - all of the actors portraying The Temptations are excellent. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2009 by Roscoe09
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't resist this temptation!!!!
I love this movie! I can watch it over and over and over again, especially the performances.
Published on April 22 2004 by BB
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Translation
After watching the VH1 movie and the DVD, the VHS leaves out some important aspects of this wonderful documentry. Read more
Published on March 20 2004 by Peggy A. Jackson
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall Good *Story*
Although I am but 21 years old, I have been a fan of the Temptations for a while now. Their sound and style is, of course, classic. But, on to the actual DVD. Read more
Published on March 14 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb movie
I have seen this movie on TV in its entirety. Also when I bought this movie I was surprised that some of the scenes were missing. Still it was a great movie. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2004 by Frances Braun
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining
I just love the tempatations and always have, I was born in Detroit when some of their hits were being produced. Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2004 by Rocknrollmommy
3.0 out of 5 stars temptations is a good movie
I watched this movie on NBC when it aired and it was a good TVM...I really dont care fot TVM'S but there are some out there that are good and this one is.. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2003 by Michael Bolts
4.0 out of 5 stars Hated the way some of the Temptations were portrayed
I loved the movie, but hated the way that Otis portrayed Paul Williams, no where in the movie does he tell that Paul had sickle cell anemia and that is why he wasn't able to stay... Read more
Published on Dec 4 2003
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