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Product Description

Irene Cara (Fame) and Lonette McKee (Round Midnight) sing and struggle their way to show-business glory in a Supremes-like girl group. Dynamite Curtis Mayfield soundtrack.

Before Dreamgirls hit cineplexes in 2006, there was Sparkle. Released in 1976, the low-budget movie (which is also loosely based on the story of Diana Ross and the Supremes) achieved somewhat of a cult following among fans that enjoy a good cry along with their kitsch. Sparkle tells the rags-to-riches (and rags again, for some of the characters) tale of three sisters with gorgeous voices. There's Sister (Lonette McKee), Sparkle (Irene Cara, Fame), and Delores (Dwan Smith), who team up with a couple of players (including a very young Philip Michael Thomas, pre-Miami Vice) to form a singing group. Because the men add little oomph to the outfit, the quintet becomes an all-girl trio and is renamed the redundant (and hysterical) Sister and the Sisters. But because this movie is called Sparkle and not Sister, we know that Irene Cara's character is the one to watch. Cara is a joy to listen to when she unleashes her powerful pipes. And as the much put-upon Sister, McKee is convincing and earns the viewer's sympathy. Set in the 1950's, the movie tackles racism, sexism, jealousy, and both chemical and physical abuse. While it is overly dramatic and liberally serves up sloppy doses of soap opera clich¨¦s, the film also is highly watchable because of its over-the-top campiness. --Jae-Ha Kim

Customer Reviews:

  • Pre-Dream Girls
    Heartbreaking yet heartwarming story of three talented sisters struggling to live during a turbalent period in Harlem history. A difinite must see....more info
  • Blue about BLUE
    I love Sparkle and have been a fan of this movie for years. It is GREAT.

    Maybe I am too nostalgic, but did anyone pay attention to the fact that the DVD cover of the dresses for Sparkle are BLUE and not the RED that is in the movie and on the cover for the VHS? What is up with this. Also, the DVD label shows Irene Cara in a gold dress that should have been red as well. What idiot decided to change it from its original format. I think this stinks and deserves to be changed back to its original RED. It's like putting Superman in a Yellow Cape...I don't like it!

    Blue about BLUE
    ...more info
  • Sparkle
    Every thing went very well and the movie was most enjoyable. Good job thanks.....RMcD...more info
    I just bought this movie and was excited to see it, and by the time it ended (which was very abruptly) I was mad and highly dissapointed. I couldn't believe how God-awful this movie was. I'm thinking that it's about "Sister" who is the lead singer and it's not, I found out that "Sparkle" isn't the group's name, but it's one of the singer's name, not only that but they hardly showed the character "Sparkle" until after her sister died, and after that you get maybe 30 minutes of her before the movie ends. It's terrible. They only showed some of her fame which was maybe 10-15 minutes long. If you LOVE high energy classy, sassy, sex appeal, glitz and glam of show business stick with Dreamgirls, if you love drama and backstabbing manager of show business stick with Dreamgirls, if you love beautiful voices, stick with Dreamgirls, if you want to waste time and think you have it bad, watch "Sparkle."...more info
  • "Sparkle"
    The movie Sparkle is simply the best of the best classic's beyond a shadow of a doubt. Sparkle has superb acting and simply beautiful music written by Curtis Mayfield and song by none other than the "Queen Aretha Franklin".

    Sparkles is well over due for being available on DVD.

    ...more info
  • great cinema
    The movie was excellent. It was a old time movie but it was as I remember it when I was a kid...more info
  • Great Stuff!!!
    I really love the quality of my product. It arrived on time and it was in great condition. I would buy from this seller again....more info
    I just bought this movie and was excited to see it, and by the time it ended (which was very abruptly) I was mad and highly dissapointed. I couldn't believe how God-awful this movie was. I'm thinking that it's about "Sister" who is the lead singer and it's not, I found out that "Sparkle" isn't the group's name, but it's one of the singer's name, not only that but they hardly showed the character "Sparkle" until after her sister died, and after that you get maybe 30 minutes of her before the movie ends. It's terrible. They only showed some of her fame which was maybe 10-15 minutes long. If you LOVE high energy classy, sassy, sex appeal, glitz and glam of show business stick with Dreamgirls, if you love drama and backstabbing manager of show business stick with Dreamgirls, if you love beautiful voices, stick with Dreamgirls, if you want to waste time and think you have it bad, watch "Sparkle."...more info
  • sparkle
    I had been looking for this movie for a long time. It is one of my all time favorites. I received the movie in the time indicated....more info
  • "Hope you understand my feelings, got me justa reeling!"
    "Sparkle" comes on cable from time to time, but it didn't look very interesting to me, maybe because I do not like watching a movie from the middle, I want to see it from beginning to end. Today I was afforded the opportunity to do just that, and I watched it in its entirety. I enjoyed the movie. As soon as it went off, I told my mother, "I liked it!"

    "Sparkle" tells the story of three sisters with the gift of song. As their fame elevates, problems arise. Some are introduced to men, drugs, abuse, snakes in the entertainment industry and a host of other malicious things. The sister who is ironically nicknamed "Sister" has the most tragic story of them all. She finds love (or so she thinks) in Satin, a man who wanted her from the first time he set eyes on her. Once they were an item, Sister's demise began. She got into drugs, started getting abused and missed some of the concerts. Delores sees the stress of being remotely famous and abruptly leaves the scene for good. But, then there is sweet Sparkle. Sparkle endured so much, yet, in the end, she did what she had set out to do, be a famous singer and perform a concert at Carnegie Hall. She and her object of affection, Stix, also remain together throughout the entire movie.

    "Sparkle" is an overall good movie, but it has some missteps. For example, the movie is low-budget, and it is not difficult for the viewer to realize that. Throughout the film, there is a certain darkness. I'm not sure if that was intentional, but it gives the movie an eerie feel. Also, the acting was far from stellar. There are certain scenes where the actors looked forced as opposed to the naturalness that an actor is supposed to have. The scenes were just thrown at the viewer, also. The story development is not good.

    So, what made the movie the African-American classic that it is? Well, for one, the sisters are some of the most attractive women ever to grace a screen. The pulchritude those women brought to the film is almost surreal. And the music! Curtis Mayfield composed some wonderful music for this movie. Many of these songs would later be redone by others. Most notable and memorable for me, though, are the two songs En Vogue included on their sophomore album, "Funky Divas." They did excellent renditions of "Hooked on Your Love (one of my favorite songs ever!) and "Giving Him Something He Can Feel."

    The DVD version of "Sparkle" is alright at best. The sound is sup-par, and the bonus disc includes five songs from the soundtrack. If you were to purchase this DVD, you would buy it because you want the movie in your collection, not because it has great bonus features. The only bonus included (besides some songs from the soundtrack, performed by Aretha Franklin), is the movie's trailer. I recommend this movie. It was created before "Dreamgirls", however, "Dreamgirls" was obviously inspired by it's predecessor, "Sparkle."
    ...more info
  • Meaningful and Pleasurible
    It is a teachable/classic movie for those who actually hope to change there lives for the better. ...more info
  • Sparkle
    This DVD arrived in a timely fashion and I will enjoy having it in my collection of DVD's....more info
  • Sparkle? More like a dull finish.
    Sorry folks, I know this is considered a 70s classic, but I couldn't get into this one.

    The story has been described already, so here goes.

    I saw it when I was 13 (circa 1978-79) and it put me to sleep in the theater. I finally saw the rest of it on DVD this weekend. I didn't miss much.

    First of all, none of the characters are well-drawn enough to make you feel much sympathy for them. We don't get enough about them to understand why they do what they do. This is especially true of the Lonette McKee character "Sister," who looks pretty, but strikes you as being really shallow and stupid for making the choices that she did.

    The singing leaves much to be desired. One finds it easy to understand why the record company had Aretha Franklin rerecord the songs for the soundtrack album. Aside from the girls looking cute and showing off some serious pulchritude in the tight dresses, the performances just aren't that compelling.

    Overall, the tale is quite dreary and almost unrelentigly grim as a whole. Little or no humor (some really cornball stuff from Don "Bubba" Bexley as a low-rate MC) or moments to make you smile (other than some of the opening talent show-the guys who sing "Love potion #9 and the early love scene with Irene Cara & Philip Michael Thomas). This aside, the film is really unappealing except for those who saw it in the 70s and are nostaligic about it.

    This film has often been considered as a predecessor to "Dreamgirls." Such comparisons are valid. In spite of the similar stories, DG succeeds with more zesty and appealing performances and characters, better songs, and a proper mix of drama, music, and comedy.

    This thing, on the other hand, drags like lead with sappy songs ("Something He Can Feel" aside) and unrelenting tales of drug addiction, domestic violence, mafia hit men, ghetto poverty, etc. with no comic relief or well-done light moments to balance this. (for example, we never learn what happens to the bitter daughter who leaves home or what caused her to be as angry as she was or why her mother was such a saint under these conditions, etc).

    No thanks folks. Give me DG any day and use this DVD as a coaster, frisbee, or for target practice. It IS interesting out of curiousity to see soon-to-be's such as a very young Phillip Michael Thomas and Irene Cara going through some early motions and Mary Alice before she was a staple in Black television shows of the 1980s....more info
    This is one of my favorite movies of all time as well. It is truly a classic. Love it...more info
  • Classic Material
    This movie is a pure classic. This is the predecessor for Dreamgirls, The Five Heartbeats, The Temptations, or any other movie that followed a soul group rise and struggles with success. Hopefully, producers and directors will leave this movie alone and deny the public a remake or sequel with untalented musicians trying to act!...more info
  • Bout time
    If you're looking at this page, then you already know that its been time for this to be released on DVD, I been holding on to a VHS for years now thanks to Warner Brother at last....more info
    I thought this was going to be one of those boring movies where the characters would break out in a song for no reason at all, but this was beyond perfect. If you haven't seen it, you're seriously missing out on one of the greatest movies done....more info
    Needless to say I was absolutely thrilled when Sparkle finally became available on dvd, because I refused to buy it on vhs! Unfortunately the packaging is very misleading regarding it being a 2disc set, considering it's a single disc with a cd of the soundtrack, which only includes a few songs. Normally I would'nt find fault in the extra disc, but I just hated the fact that the original soundtrack does not include the songs being sung by the girls in the movie. When I first hear a song I enjoy there is an instant connection to the person who sings it. When I heard Lonnette McKee sing Hooked on your Love or Irene Cara sing Look into your Heart, these are the singers who I want to hear on the soundtrack not Aretha Franklin!!!
    Eventhough Aretha is the Queen of Soul she did'nt sing those songs in the movie, and therefore did not make them her own!!!

    Despite a few flaws in the dvd release of Sparkle, I did really enjoy seeing this 70's classic!!! I always thought Phillip Michael Thomas and Irene Cara were pure magic together. She possessed such a sweet innocence as Sparkle and Phillip Michael Thomas was just so damn fine!!!! And still is!!!! He's aged very well!!! It would have been nice to see a current interview with the original cast, but unfortunately alot of older black films from the 70's just don't get the royal treatment like alot of current films that get released on dvd. At this point I'll just be grateful that Sparkle is finally available on dvd!!!...more info
  • At the show
    I was pleased with the DVD, but disappointed that there were no behind-the or deleted scenes included in the special features. It is still one of my all time favorites....more info
  • Sparkle simply sparkles
    I enjoyed this thoroughly. The story of three sisters one the classic beauty who falls for an ominous Mr. Bad Guy and goes to rack & ruin. Which leaves her siblings (whom she used to guide) ruderless in a cruel world. A story of growing up and finding a way out of what seems to be no way. Great story great songs, the original of dream girls and Mamma I want to Sing!...more info
  • An All-Time Favorite!
    I can remember seeing Sparkle as a kid and have loved it ever since. This is one of those movies from which you will be quoting lines by rote for the rest of your life. The Curtis Mayfield score is incredible, and the songs still stand out today (as evidenced by their being remade by Whitney Houston and En Vouge). Anyone who loves a good love story, a good musical, or just a good movie should own a copy of Sparkle....more info
  • Sister and the Sisters
    It's about time that this is on DVD. I've loved this movie since I was a kid. Before there was Dreamgirls there was Sparkle. This is a must have for you movie collection....more info
  • Sparkle
    I have always loved this movie, i was also pleased to have the soundtrack for the movie along with the DVD....more info
  • Nothing To Sing Home About
    Let's keep it real here: "Sparkle" became more boring after Sister died. Sister (Lonette McKee) was the most beautiful and exciting sister. Too bad her life was cut short- rather quickly. If the movie was focused solely on her and contained a better script, I'm sure the movie would've been more interesting and profound. I found Sparkle (Irene Cara) to be as bland as stale wheat bread. I can't believe someone as boring as her ended up being the star of the movie. I just got tired of the goody-two shoes personality. Even hooking up with Stix (Phillip Michael Thomas) didn't add any spice to her. I also didn't understand why the middle sister Doleres (Dwan Smith) was the homeliest of the bunch. Irene Cara is a good singer, but she's not much of a soul singer. Lonette McKee wasn't much of a singer in those days, although I really liked her version of "Giving Up." Over all, the movie was alright, it just wasn't that great. Since Hollywood likes do remakes of movies that came out eons ago, a really great idea would be to re-write the entire script to Sparkle and change some things around....more info
  • Not a great movie to watch after seeing Dreamgirls...................
    From the opening credits, this movie comes off more like a made for TV movie than a motion screen picture. Its also not a well written movie either. The movie jumps from scene to scene without ever allowing the story to unfold.

    ...more info
  • so good
    This movie is a classic and great. So happy that they made it for dvd finally. It's wonderful.Would recommend....more info
  • Okay movie, horrible DVD
    Shot in 1975 and released in April 1976, "Sparkle" is a film about a trio of sisters from 1950s/1960s Harlem who form a Supremes-esque singing group. Having never seen "Sparkle", but having heard my fellow Black folks praise it left and right, I had high expectations for it. The film itself, ironically, isn't much to sing about; while better than most of the blaxploitation films released at the time, that's honestly not saying much. Despite strong performances by Lonnette McKee and Irene Cara, and a good one from Philip Michael "Miami Vice" Thomas, "Sparkle" is hampered with a weak script from Joel Schumacher; virtually every line of dialogue is cringe-worthy. The songs by Curtis Mayfield are all wonderful, to the point where I don't mind that they're, for the most part, deeply rooted in Mayfield's early-1970s style, and some of them, especially "Jump", are therefore anachronistic. The film's best-known song, "Something He Can Feel" (later resurrected in girl-group fashion by En Vogue) comes closest to fitting into the period. A period-appropriate cover of Gladys Knight & the Pips' 1964 minor hit "Giving Up" (later covered by Donny Hathaway) is welcome among Mayfield compositions such as "Hooked on Your Love" and "Look Into Your Heart"

    I can't call "Sparkle" a well-made film, but I can call it a likable and entertaining one. By contrast, a lot of well-made films are cold and unentertaining, calling the whole debate of "art or entertainment" into play.

    "Sparkle" hasn't been available on home video in over a decade, and although this new DVD set fulfills the basic requirement of making the film available, it falters in every other way imaginable. Although the artwork above leads one to believe this release is a 2-disc DVD set (and, as such, containing plenty of special features), the release is actually a bare-bones DVD with a bonus CD. The film itself is presented on the DVD in a decent, and obviously new, anamorphic widescreen DVD transfer, which is good. However, the soundtrack is only available in its original mono version, which is - characteristically for a film shot in 1975 - damp. Perhaps the separate tracks no longer exist to allow "Sparkle" to be remixed into stereo as 20th Century Fox did for "Claudine", but if possible, it would have been nice.

    There are no bonus features, save for the film's original theatrical trailer, narrated by, of all people, Casey Kasem. One would think the bonus CD would be the Aretha Franklin soundtrack album (as was done for "School Daze", which got much better treatment on its recent DVD release), but it's not quite. Three songs are missing: "Jump", 'I Get High", and "Rock with Me". I presume Warner wants you to buy the soundtrack album, but they must not realize that most people - myself included - are going to head over to iTunes and spend an extra $2.97 for the missing three songs. Surely it wouldn't have been too much trouble to include three more songs, would it?

    And Warner Bros. makes no pretense about the fact that this DVD release was done primarily to cash in on the release and success of the film version "Dreamgirls", which they were originally to have co-produced. A sticker on the box proclaims "Before 'Dreamgirls', there was 'Sparkle'". And while "Dreamgirls" is a better film than "Sparkle", "Sparkle" still has a certain charm to it, and "Dreamgirls" pays homage to "Sparkle" in various ways.

    "Sparkle" is a "cult classic", so there is a built-in market for the DVD. However, the cult will not be pleased with this shoddy DVD presentation. "Sparkle" deserves better....more info
  • More Dreamgirls!!!!
    This is an excellent movie! Lonette McKee is stunning (and one on the most underated actresses in Hollywood, in my opinion), as well as Irene and the other ladies. Great story!...more info
  • DVD - Sparkle
    This movie is great on DVD, the sound and the picture quality was great....more info
  • Excellent B movie!
    Aspirations of success can either break you down or make you believer. This movie still holds true 30+ years later.

    All powerful & artistic thespians who played there part accordingly. Regardless of race,nationality, age & gender, this is a must see flick.

    Yes, I strongly recommend!...more info
  • better than Dreamgirls
    I took my daughter to see Dreamgirls and she loved it. I had to bust her bubble!!! And tell her the history about Sparkle Oldschool) now she agrees with me sparkle is the best soundtrack outstanding. (Areatha Franklin) Given him something he can feel................more info
  • teshawil about sparkle
    sparkle is an awesome movie. I used to watch this movie all the time when i was a little girl. it's good to be able to get that feeling back....more info
    Let's face it, if this movie stars were Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock and Kristen Dunce the DVD would have been NASA launched
    out of Warner Brothers. Really, it is more than about time to
    release this Classic movie on DVD. I only hope the delay has to
    do with a two disc special with out take's special commentaries
    from the orginal artist, and enhanced HD-DVD 30th anniversary
    release. Anything else would be an insult....more info
  • As a trashy compendium of rags-to-riches cliches, SPARKLE is going for the gold
    The rags-to-riches saga of '60s girl group The Supremes is such an over-the-top true-life soap opera it inspired a whole trio of Bad Motown Musicals We Love. On Broadway (and now Hollyood) there was DREAMGIRLS, on TV there was DIVAS and, best of all, on-screen there was SPARKLE. DREAMGIRLS and DIVAS surely did more than their part for bitching and sequins, but only the spectacularly bad 1976 Sparkle boasts an unintentionally hilarious screenplay that keeps you giggling from first frame to last.

    The "fictional" yarn of three Harlem sisters -- one sexy (Lonette McKee), one sweet (Irene Cara), one sour (Dwan Smith) -- who long for a better life, Sparkle dutifully dramatizes the obstacles that poverty throws in front of three purportedly talented young black women. Early on, Cara (the sweet one) is being wooed by neighborhood hustler Philip Michael Thomas on the roof of her run-down apartment building. "Don't!" she gasps when the future star of "Miami Vice" kisses her. "It's a sin!" "Does it feel like a sin?" he asks. "Feels so good it must be a sin," she answers, reassuring us that, as a trashy compendium of rags-to-riches cliches, Sparkle is going for the gold.

    Older sibling McKee (the slut) warns sweet Cara and sour Smith not to go all the way till they find a sugar daddy: "Pick out somebody nice with enough money in his pocket so he can stop down to the jeweler on 125th street and buy you something." Amazingly, she then flashes a miniscule ring and proudly announces, "Real diamond chip. It cost $17." The movie isn't called Sparkle because of jewels. Meanwhile, Thomas and a pal team up with the girls in a singing group called "The Hearts." Even though the emcee of the talent night at a local strip joint introduces them as "The Farts," this group -- well, let sweet Cara tell it: "First prize! Who woulda thought?" And, this being a trashy compendium of rags-to-riches cliches, the three gals are soon headlining on their own in skintight gowns, false eyelashes and big, big hair.

    Just as you'd predicted, slut sister McKee takes up with a pimp right after he beats up his previous "girlfriend" and retrieves the fur coat right off her back. When McKee appears badly bruised before a show one night, claiming she was in an accident, sister Smith snarls, "You had an accident of the brain when you started running around with that low-life, no-good trash!" At this McKee tosses her out of the dressing room and nose-dives into a pile of cocaine, confiding to sweet sibling Cara, "Your sister can't fly on one wing." Smith is so sour, however, she's soon asking McKee, "What else is that nigger pushing into you besides his fist?" The girls' old mother has worries about McKee, too. "Baby, he's gonna drag you to the gutter. I've lived in Harlem all my life -- I do know a rat when I see one." Proving mother knows best, McKee's pimp boyfriend punches her and growls, "I want you to crawl for me, bitch! Crawl! Crawl!" This subplot soon threatens to turn Sparkle into Lady Sings the Black and Blues, as the battered, drugged McKee does such a bad nightspot impersonation of Billie Holiday that she finally keels over and dies. Then, clearing the way for a much-needed explanation of why SPARKLE is named "SPARKLE" instead of Nod or Bitch, sour sister Smith runs away from home and good-guy Thomas convinces sweet sister Cara to step out as a solo performer with backup singers. When Cara makes the charts, Thomas, overwhelmed by the opportunity for yet another cliche, gleefully booms, "Next stop, Carnegie Hall!"

    Just as you'd predicted, thugs who lent Thomas $10,000 now want to own Cara! But, being the good boyfriend of the sweet sister, he refuses, whereupon he is kidnapped and tortured by the mob. Nevertheless, good triumphs over evil here, as it so often does in impoverished, mob-controlled milieus, making for one of the most remarkable plot twists ever: when Thomas won't give an inch no matter what the gangsters do to him, they just let him go! And so, Thomas and Cara are reunited for a happy-ever-after life of gold, platinum and other things that sparkle.

    Astoundingly, this film's screenwriter was heard from again. After penning the even worse THE WIZ for the real Diana Ross, Joel Schumacher changed careers to become the director of such other Bad Movies We Love as FLATLINERS,DYING YOUNG, and A TIME TO KILL.
    ...more info
  • A Lost Gem Is Found
    It is like going into a music store, flipping through the used CD rack and finding an unopened classic you wanted for years, but had forgotten about until you see it.

    Sparkle was released in 1976 and chronicles how three sisters defeat the long odds of living in 1950s America and become an "overnight" music sensation. But they ultimately find much too late that stardom has its own set of destructive demons that will lay to waste careers and fragile lives.

    Sister (Lonette McKee), Sparkle (Irene Cara) & Delores (Dwan Smith) are initially billed as Sister and the Sisters, but the DVD title provides you a pretty good tip on who ends up as the most famous of the trio. Philip Michael Thomas (Stix) puts in a solid performance as the love interest of Sparkle.

    The Curtis Mayfield score and the bonus 5-track CD from Aretha Franklin easily covers the cost of the set.

    The story moves swiftly in its 98 minutes and tackles issues like racism, sexism and chemical & physical abuse from a female perspective. And let's be real, the pressures on women in the recording industry are intense; look to a survivor like Mary J. to get that true picture.

    A planned remake has had its own real-life tragedy. The death of Aaliyah (slated to play Sparkle) in 2001 postponed production plans. The project was shelved around 2003, though Raven Symone was scheduled to play the lead role.

    From being the inspiration for the 1981 Broadway musical Dreamgirls, to finally making it to DVD due to the success of the movie Dreamgirls, it appears that Sparkle - though it came first - will remain somehow linked with the stage & screen projects it helped create.

    ...more info
  • An All Time Favorite - YAY to being on DVD
    This movie is one of my all time favorites! The singing is phenomenal but there's also a great story...not quite a musical. There is some of everything in this movie - love, betrayal, violence, hope, racism....everything from the gritty streets - to young first loves - all without giving too much of one. There's never a dull moment, you won't even realize it's been an hour and a half until it's over and you're hoping for more.

    You'll always remember Sparkle. I can't wait until the dvd release...maybe we'll even have a slumber party like we did as kids and fight over who gets to be 'Sparkle,' 'Sister,' or the 'other sister' lol. I hope that it has been remastered so some of the dark and/or scratchy scenes look better than they do when showed on TNT and other stations....more info
  • Great Music
    I always Loved this movie. Great music and the remastering of the film is excellent. Sparkle is the first dreamgirls....more info
  • great star power
    phillip, irene, but dang can lonette mckee make you feel tha pain...more info
    I was afraid a few months ago when I was hunting for this and heard it was only overseas. The shipping was really expensive and it was in a strange format. But, this is the greatest story of music, pain and triumph made. Nothing like it has been made to date. I have been looking for this forever! It's taken my entire lifetime to put two great movies (this and Mahogany) on DVD that our children can learn to love as well. Way to go!!!...more info
  • Sparkle
    Sparkle is such an iconic movie that it is worth having on dvd to enjoy and share with others for years to come. I have it on tape and because it has been viewed so much the quality had degraded. If you are a fan of The Five Heartbeats and The Temptations then you will love this movie. Before there was dreamgirls there was SPARKLE and what a movie it is!...more info
  • Low-Budget, Pre-"Dreamgirls" Curio Has Some Good Moments and Mayfield's Music...But It's Not Nearly Enough
    Just in time to capitalize on the long-awaited movie version of "Dreamgirls" is the DVD release of this semi-forgotten 1976 musical melodrama that also takes the rise of the Supremes as its inspiration. Released five years before the Broadway opening of "Dreamgirls" and partially set in the same period, it has a predominantly black cast and a story revolving around an up-and-coming girl group, and that's where the resemblance basically ends. Written by Joel Schumacher well before he became a big-league director of mainstream studio product ("Batman Forever", "The Phantom of the Opera"), this movie seems grittier on the surface. True to form, however, Schumacher weakens the storyline and character development by injecting an abundance of clich¨¦s and eye-rolling one-liners. With little affinity for staging musical numbers, Sam O'Steen, a highly regarded film editor but neophyte director, helms the production like a low-budget TV-movie with a frustratingly episodic structure.

    The story follows three Harlem sisters - sexy Sister, self-righteous Delores and sweet Sparkle - as they sing in the church choir, meet smooth-talking but well-intentioned boys Stix and Levi, and then find their first taste of success as a singing group - first as a sweater-wearing quintet called the Hearts and then as a glitzy trio known as Sister and the Sisters. But naturally there are problems beyond the silly name for the group - Sister gets involved with nasty drug dealer Satin Struthers who beats her and turns her into a cocaine junkie; Levi goes to prison for getting caught in a drug pick-up for Satin; Stix gets frustrated by failure and unwisely turns to some Jewish mobsters for financial help; Delores just gets plain fed up; and poor little Sparkle has to decide what kind of future she wants. A big plus is that R&B great Curtis Mayfield wrote the atmospheric songs, some catchy and one, "Look Into Your Heart", a real winner.

    The solid cast does its best under the contrived circumstances. Lonette McKee's valiant attempt to make Sister a tragic figure is undercut by some of the ham-fisted plot turns, including a sad Billie Holliday-like turn at the mike. Before they hit it big on primetime TV, Philip Michael Thomas and Dorian Harewood portray Stix and Levi with boyish vitality if not much credibility. The best work comes from Mary Alice in a relatively silent turn as the girls' patient mother and a pre-"Fame" Irene Cara who effortlessly exudes sincerity in the title role (though her costumer and hair stylist should be shot for the hideous look she achieves in the final scene). The DVD just comes with the original theatrical trailer complete with an unctuous voiceover by DJ Casey Kasem and a bonus CD of five of the film's songs performed not by the original cast but by Aretha Franklin off her 1976 recording of the soundtrack. It's not a terrible movie, just an interesting if lacking curio that happens to cover the same ground as "Dreamgirls"....more info
  • Before my time, but still great!!
    I saw this movie when I was a kid around 1994 I believe. My mom was always having me watch ALL these "old school," movies and while then I did it more to make her I realize she did me a BIG favor introducing me to classics most kids my age never even HEARD of. I'm not in my late 20's and still remember ALL the songs to this movie. Its definately a classic and while it has its corny moments, is mostly a great movie with a lot of heart. I just bought this for my mom and sent it to her as a surprise...she'll be THRILLED. :) ...more info
  • when will time-warner "dvd' VERSION
    this is a excellent movie, each performer, performed...I was just wondering, when will it be relased in a dvd format?????????? ita about time don't you think???...more info
  • Great Movie!
    I cannot count the number of times that I have watched this movie and still love it. It is a great movie and a collector's item. It's about three sisters who want to make it to the big time. Some the right way and others wrong. ...more info
  • Sparkle
    This is an excellent movie!As they say, "before Dreamgirls there was "Sparkle" and it's a must to see movie before Dreamgirls.Dreamgirls is a #2 movie. Sparkle is absolutely #1!...more info
  • Talk about a 70's hidden gem!
    These ladies were the real Dreamgirls before what we are seeing right now. This is a true classic musical drama about three girls and a guy trying to make it out of the ghetto into something special. This was Irene Cara and Phillip Michael Thomas at their best. I recommend that every fan of the 70's music and film should own this one....more info
  • The Singing Nuns
    What were the writers of this underrated gem going for with the character names? So many ofthem begin with the letter "S"- "Sparkle" "Satin" "Stix"(the Devil perhaps?-river Styx) and the rather lame-named "Sister" giving rise to the unfortunately named group "Sister and the Sisters"-sounds like a comedy act featuring nuns(Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy maybe). Never mind though, just enjoy and the musics great too! ...more info
  • Sister and the Sisters **SPARKLE** and the movie Shines!
    I love the movie SPARKLE and I'm so glad I finally bought the DVD.

    Named as the precursor and inspiration to the Broadway musical Dreamgirls (and eventually movie Dreamgirls (Two-Disc Showstopper Edition)), the film is about a group of friends--three of them sisters--and the different paths their lives take as they deal with life in the Harlem ghetto in the late 50s and 60s.

    Don't let the cutesy title fool you; SPARKLE is a dark drama about pain and joy, and the nearly impossible task of trying to lift one's life out of poverty. There are some fantastic musical numbers and the dresses are fab, but this is far from the glamorous "Dreamgirls."

    Fantastic songs and score by Curtis Mayfield punctuate the drama on screen and the dark lighting creates a stifling atmosphere that puts the viewer smack dab in the middle of poverty...where the only light shines is on the performer up on the stage.

    The transfer to DVD is gorgeous! It's about time this cult favorite was released on DVD.

    It also includes the trailer narrated by Casey Kasem and includes a separate CD from the Aretha Franklin album Sparkle: Music From The Warner Bros. Motion Picture..

    The bonus CD contains 5 out of the 8 songs that were on the album/CD. Songs not on the bonus are:

    One note about the soundtrack: I really wish they would add the original vocals from the movie (done by Irene Cara, Lonette Mckee and Dawn Smith) to the soundtrack. Don't get me wrong, I love Aretha but the arrangements are so different on some songs that I don't like it.

    And beside, Cara and Mckee sound wonderful, particularly Cara's solo on "Precious Lord Take My Hand." Oh well, I guess we can't have it all!

    ...more info
  • A Mix of Sparkle, Dream Girls, and The Supremes
    Now that we have Sparkle on DVD we now have the stage play, Dream Girls made into a movie after what 30 years staring, Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce' Knowles and Anika Noni Rose playing the updated roles of these women and which seems to be based on the life of one of the most famous girl groups of our time, The Supremes. I don't know if the movie Dream Girls will live up to the movie version of Sparkle or the stage play of Dream Girls, but one thing is for sure, the reviews have all been mixed. It has been nominated for golden glove awards and has opened newer doors for some of the actors involved. Me personally, I loved the movie Sparkle and it is an African American Collector's Item that every movie buff should have in their collection. Time will tell if Dream Girls can live up to being a classic like Sparkle and the stage play Dream Girls. ...more info
  • Sparkle
    If you want to see were EnVogue got their moves from...definitely watch this movie. This is one of Irene Cara's best performance besides FAME. ...more info
  • Sparkle, a great 70's classic
    Unlike Dream Girls you're able to start at the beginning of the sister's poor upbringing and see each detail of their life as they are struggling in a ghetto; then see them rise to the top and reach their dreams of becoming singing sensations. You know just where they came from and where they ended up.
    I first saw the movie in the 70's and I loved it. Philip Michael Thomas was adorable. I still watch the movie from time to time. ...more info
  • Sparkle Shines!
    Sparkle is a classic. The acting, music and story never go out of style. If you haven't seen it, by all means do and if you have then see it again to relive the magic. I've been searching for this on DVD for a while now, I still can't believe a classic such as this hasn't been put to DVD yet. ...more info
  • Sparkle Review
    I have loved this movie ever since I was a little girl. The DVD is awsome. It has been re-mastered beautifully....more info
  • Seriously...
    Despite the low budget production, this movie in my opinion rates among my top three "tear jerkers". (The other two are "Imitation of Life" and "Lady Sings the Blues"). The story line and the music in this movie are classic.
    I am one of the Amazon members who refused to settle for a VHS version of this movie. I held out for the DVD release and I am glad I did.
    I think a re-make of this movie with India Arie, Ashantye and Alicia Keys would be fabulous!
    Again, I know this was roughly written and probably a low-budget production. But even in considering all of that, the talent displayed in this movie by all of the wonderful African American actors and actresses in this movie alone deserves kudos. No doubt the original players didn't get paid what they deserved or what their counter-parts would get paid today. (Hint, hint, Dreamgirls)....more info
  • It's about time!
    Many fans of this 1976 musical have awaited its' release by the genuises at Warner Bros. We can only hope that the release has some added features: remastered sound, digital enhancement, cast & crew commentary, etc. Fans of the film always recall how the vocals in the film were performed by the cast (Lonette McKee had a few albums released around this period), while the best-selling Curtis Mayfield soundtrack was voiced by Aretha Franklin! Tony King gives a chilling performance as this movies' villain, Satin. He has one particularly disturbing scene where he physically abuses Sister (portrayed wonderfully, I might add by Lonette McKee) I recall the audience cheered loudly at the films' climax when Stix arrives in time for Sparkle's Carnegie Hall (!) appearance. I've noticed when this movie has been telecast on cable (HBO, TV One) at how dim, grainy and spotty the print has become. Lets hope this release has been given the respect it's due by restoring it to original glory. Maybe this release will generate other great soundtrack releases from this period ("The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh", for one, comes to mind) as well. ...more info
  • Sparkle
    This movie is one of my all time favorites. I have watch this movie over and over through out the years, and still can't get enough of it! I would recommend this movie to anyone who loves Irene Cara and Phillip Michael Thomas....more info
  • warren1
    This is the original Dreamgirls, with a much better story line.
    Although, the production and setting and art is not as good as the more recent movie Dreagirls, this movie Sparkle is more in tune the reality of the circumstances at that time. Irene Cara and Lonette Mckee are ideal in their roles of Sparkle(Irene Cara), and the older sister called Sister(Lonette Mckee). The group looks great together as they perform,
    Phillip Micheal Thomas brings a vigor and excitement to the role of Stix (Sparkle's love interest)and the relationship between the two are nothing but real and sincere. Finally the songs and soundtrack to Sparkle are great, soulful, and beautifully done, and Aretha Franklin soundtrack, which is included in this DVD set, is a awesome plus....more info
  • This Will Always Be My Favorite Version of Dreamgirls!!
    I love this film here and was delighted when it was released to DVD!
    Everything about it, from the soundtrack to the storyline
    to the amatuerish acting was just fantastic!
    A young Phillip Michael Thomas put the PH in PHOINE!!
    I was 12 yrs old when my family and I saw this at the theatre!
    Aretha's voice was still primo back then, and with Curtis Mayfield's just can't get anymore soulful!
    I will take this movie over that overrated-fake CZ-wearing-homogenized 2006 movie "Dreamgirls" any day!!
    This 2-disc version has highlights from the soundtrack
    of Sparkle included!--Aretha was the truth back then!...more info
  • I've been waiting for this move to come to DVD for years!!!
    This is my second favorite movie of all time. I already had it on VHS for many years, but various friends and family members wanted to borrow it and I wouldn't see it again for a year or two. I'm passing on the VHS to my sister since I now have the DVD. I just wish it would have included the complete soundtrack instead of just part of it( I also have the sountrack on wax)....more info
  • Sparkle Still Sparkles!!!!
    This movie is a classic!! The cast is awesome.It's my all time favorite! I'm so ...glad they put it out!!! ...more info
  • Sparkle is still all that
    I rented Sparkle back in the early 90s on videotape and immediately fell in love with the story and the music, if not the quality of the video. It didn't matter, though. I had to have a copy of this movie! I ended up with my own video of Sparkle, which I lent to a friend, and never saw it again.

    Was I glad to see this DVD version! I wish the producers would have taken the time to clean up the video quality, if they could have, and made the sound better, done some special features. . .

    but again, Sparkle, the story overcomes all the technical difficulties. It's almost like a home movie that captures a miracle in a remote corner of the room.

    Curtis Mayfield's genius is on full display in this one. It has just enough music for a music lover, just enough action for an action lover. It is that perfect balance for my husband and me.

    And even in that poor video quality, the beauty of the three main characters in particular just shines through. It is a rare movie that shows such diversity of black beauty.

    It is hard to believe that this is Lonnette McKee's first movie--she shines so brightly throughout, and the earnestness and innocence of Irene Cara just pulls you in.

    This DVD is a must have....more info
  • How can a musical not be in DD 5.1?
    We all know and love the movie. And I'm sure if you're anything like me you've been waiting a long long time for the DVD release. However I must express how disappointed that this wonderful movie (a musical) is not presented in DD 5.1 (at least). Maybe they are plotting on making us double dip for future releases? Shame on Warner Bros! But I guess beggers can't be choosers.........more info
  • Wonderful and Magnificent after 31 years
    This is the Original Dreamgirls at their best. "Sparkle" is one of
    those movies that has it all,as far as real life circustances: Drugs,
    Prostitution, Shattered Dreams, Fame, Misfortunes and Good vs Evil..
    Very nice soundtrack, acting and directing.I give "Sparkle" 5 stars
    because of Irene Cara and Phillip Micheal Thomas. Irene Cara was
    such a superb actress She did 2 movies in 1975 at age 16 "Aaron Loves Angela" and "Sparkle and she was so mature and advanced you could not
    even tell she was a teenager at the time. to be paired with 2 other lovely adult women in "Sparkle" (Lonette Mckee and Dwan Smith).Speaks
    for itself. What hollywood was saying was this young lady was well ahead
    of any teenager her age and she just fit into an adult world. We all know
    Phillip Micheal Thomas went on to star in Miami Vice and other things. Lonnette McKee is so beautiful until only GOD could have created her. Tony King, what else is there to say? Very Kool 1970's Actor and he pulls it off again in "Sparkle"... Mary Alice is a Mississippi Girl, a big Shout out to a superb actress. and Dorian Harewood was outstanding in his early acting career. Dwan Smith great in "Sparkle",but never heard anyting from her again.I know you out there somewhere Peace to you.... This was my first time ever seeing this movie after 31 years and I have to tell you it's not how much money you put into a movie but the quality of the movie, So "Sparkle" gets the edge over her spin off "Dreamgirls" I'm sure a lot of movie pioneers would agree.

    King Rashid-Salim
    Tennessee...more info
  • Great
    I have been waiting for this movie to come out on DVD. I'm so glad it finally did. I wish the bonus CD had the songs on it from the movie. Other then that I have to say I'm please. I hope everyone enjoys this great movie....more info
  • the original divas of music
    Awesome movie!! If you love the classics this is the movie for you....more info
  • Disappointed!!!!!!
    Sparkle is an African-American cult classic film. It has been cherished by millions in the African-American community for years. How dare Warner Bros. disgrace the legacy of this film? Why is the sound not in 5.1 Dolby Surround? Why did they include the soundtrack as a bonus? We the fans have had this soundtrack since 1976. Where are the Bonus Features? Cast interviews, restored footage from the original uncut unedited version, commentary from the director Sam O'Steen, or Joel Schumacher???

    This is a travesty!

    ...more info
  • All should see
    First saw this movie as a child over twenty years ago--loved it then--love it now. A must see by all. The music of Curtis Mayfield combined with the timeless talents of Irene Cara, Lonette McKey, Dorian Haywood, Phillip Michael Thomas, etc. created a classic....more info
  • Old School
    Though Lonnette Mckee's singing is painful to watch & hear, a young Phillip Michael Thomas & Irene Cara really shine in this movie. The lighting was kinda dark. It must have been a low budget flick....more info
  • Fab movie, sucky DVD
    First, let me say I am a HUGE fan of "Sparkle." I have been waiting for this to come out on DVD for years. So, I'm glad we have it. It's beautifully packaged and all, but it's way too bare bones! For a 30-year-old film with a strong following, they could have done a better job than this. The only bonus feature is the trailer - criminal! No commentary. No deleted scenes. No making of. Nothing. This film deserved better. While it may fall under the radar for mainstream movie goers, it's a beloved favorite in the black community and will hopefully see a fitting release in the future. But for now, if you like music movies with a dash of drama, you'll want to pick up this DVD. It's not a revolutionary story, but it's got a dark quality to it that's held up quite well over the years. The performances are good even though the lip-syncing (Especially by Dwan Smith)is so-so, he he, and the pacing is great. Just as good as or better than "Dreamgirls," IMO. It does come with a CD of five Aretha Franklin tracks from the original soundtrack LP, which is okay. A better bonus disc would have been the songs featuring Lonette McKee and the other cast members as they sound in the film. Pulling those out of the Warner vault would have been a better treat given that the soundtrack is still in print. Like I said, maybe one day this will get a proper treatment. ...more info
  • Sparkle
    This movie is a wonderful drama, comedy and musical. The different storylines are very compelling. The music is fantastic. I loved it. ...more info
  • What Can I Do? Buy This DVD!!
    I thought for sure this DVD would be released in 2001 for a 25th year anniversary. When that year can and went, I figured 2006 would be the year of release for the movie's 30th year anniversary. Oh well, at least the DVD is finally being released.

    The release of this movie in 1976 was a big deal in Detroit, because it was the movie debut of Detroit native Lonette McKee. She even attended the Detroit premiere! Her reviews were great, and she had appearances on many talk shows afterwards--including Dinah Shore's. On one show, she expressed disappointment that an album featuring the songs as sung by her, Irene Cara, and others in the movie wasn't released, but thanked Aretha Franklin for recording an album featuring the songs from the film. She was later cast as Ali's wife in the movie 'The Greatest', but later quit after creative differences with the director. She was then cast as one of the female co-stars in the hilarious 1977 movie 'Which Way Is Up?' with Richard Pryor (who had taken McKee under his wing and who she was rumored to have been dating). Her next big movie role was in 'The Cotton Club' in 1984, where she played a Cotton Club girl who later passes for white to get gigs in higher-paying clubs. Other roles include Haley's tv movie 'Queen' (where she played a slave who passes for white) and Oprah Winfrey's tv movie 'The Women of Brewster Place' (where she played a lesbian school teacher fearful of losing her job if her sexuality became known).

    Back to 'Sparkle'...One of my all-time favorite movie characters is the tall, sexy, strutting, long-haired, high-yellow, gum-chewing, I'm-hot-and-I-know-it Sister! McKee owns the movie, and the three girls in red dresses singing "Hooked On Your Love" is a screen classic! Irene Cara is the perfect choice for the sweet, innocent Sparkle. Many often joke about pretty Dwan Smith's Delores character--mainly because she looks so unlike her supposed sisters in the film ("she was adopted"..."Effie had an affair with a black man when Delores was conceived"). But she is great as the tough, proud middle sister. Then there's Tony King as the villian Satin, and Philip Michael Thomas as the good guy Stix. (Hmmm...should I address the color complexion issue? How the lightest of the girls is considered the "prettiest girl in Harlem", how the darkest guy is the evil bad guy, and, forget it! Lets just enjoy the movie!)

    I love that the DVD is a 2-disc set!! I assume this means that we will get many special features! Cast interviews? Deleted scenes? A 'the making of...' documentary? Can't wait to see!...more info
  •'s finally released on DVD!!
    I've been waiting for years for this classic to come out in DVD format. I saw the movie opening while stationed at Pearl Harbor back in 1976 and it has always been one of my all-time favorates. I had worn my tape version out and feared I would lose this precious work over time. With a cast of Phillip Michael Thomas (pre-Miami Vice), Irene Cara (pre-TGIF), a luscious Lonette McKee and a host of other outstanding actors, it elevates this work in my opinion up with some of the top black musical movies (eg: Claudine, Car Wash, Shaft, etc.) of its day. Although the storyline is a bit shallow, it more than makes up for it with its soulful Motown inspired soundtrack and top shelf cast.

    The soundtrack, with Aretha in classic form and Curtis Mayfield's timeless musical arrangements, is as vibrant and relevant today as it was 30 years ago And with the CD included along with the DVD, this is an outstanding value.

    This is an absolute must for the collection and I'm absolutely thrilled that this important work was revived in DVD ...more info
  • My favorite film of all time!!!!!
    I remember seeing this film at my cousin's house when I was about nineor ten years old. I knew that when I got older, I would treasure this film( I am 25 now). I can honestly say that this film is a heartwarming story. My favorite part of the film is when Sparkle is in the studio singing "Look into Your Heart". She quickly becomes frustrated, and then Styx joins her, and they start singing together. Ummmmm, Phillip Michael Thomas is so damn fine!!!!! It is a shame that it took Warner Brothers thirty years to release this film on DVD!!! Nonetheless, I am happy, and grateful. To anyone who doesn't own this film, you are a fool. This is a must have film, and a classic. Forget about Scarface, and the Godfather, Sparkle is my hero!!!!!!...more info
  • Sparkle was unmemorable
    I was disappointed with this movie. It certainly showed the seedier side of trying to make the "big time" in early rock and roll, however the performances were unconvincing and rather shallow. The music was repetitive; I would have liked shorter versions and different songs. Irene Cara was probably the best actor of the lot and even she struggled with the material. Two weeks after viewing the movie, I am left with a vague impression of the story-line. So, in essence, forgettable and not worth buying. ...more info