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LADY SINGS THE BLUES
1972, Paramount, 144 min, USA, Dir: Sidney J. Furie

Diana Ross earned an Oscar nomination for her feature debut as Billie Holiday in this loose adaptation of the legendary jazz singer’s autobiography. As she rises from Harlem brothel worker to Carnegie Hall headliner, Lady Day struggles with racism and drugs; Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor, respectively, play the angel and the devil on her shoulders.


RICHARD PRYOR LIVE ON THE SUNSET STRIP
1982, Sony Repertory, 82 min, USA, Dir: Joe Layton

Richard Pryor came back from his nearly fatal freebasing accident to create the best stand-up act of his career, captured beautifully in this landmark concert film by director Joe Layton and cinematographer Haskell Wexler. Pryor's riffs on marriage, the mob, Africa and his own drug problems are hilarious, but the underlying complexity of his material makes this the rare stand-up routine that's as poignant as it is funny.


RICHARD PRYOR: LIVE IN CONCERT
1979, © 1979 Gary P. Biller, 78 min, USA, Dir: Jeff Margolis

One of the most brilliant stand-up comedians of all-time is at the top of his game in this performance filmed at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach, California. Pryor’s no-holds-barred observations about sex, drugs, racism, boxing and more will have you aching with laughter. “Probably the greatest of all recorded-performance films.” – Pauline Kael


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