Studio: Warner Home Video
WorkNameSort: Sparkle
It's a shame that it took the release of the Dreamgirls movie to finally get this 1976 soul musical onto DVD. The packaging ' including the faux-Supremes pictures and the sticker proclaiming 'Before there was Dreamgirls, there was Sparkleâ?� ' wants to make sure you make the connection. Unfortunately, the similarities between the two are tenuous and superficial. Sparkle has a richer and more engaging story, and the music-biz darkness that Dreamgirls only hints at is fully ' if melodramatically ' engaged. Philip Michael Thomas and Irene Cara are decent actors, but the corny dialogue plainly reveals their shortcomings. Still, Sparkle ultimately aims to be a gritty and realistic piece of work, not simply a musically strong bit of nostalgia. The tight focus is on Harlem singer Sparkle Williams and her rise in the '50s from being a wide-eyed teenager in a group with her sisters to being a star. Well, not really a star; the film ends with her career pinnacle ' a gig opening for Ray Charles. Yet that small success, after a series of personal disasters and an injection of mob-money help ' is enough to validate the journey that the film follows. The music by Curtis Mayfield still stands up (duh), and this 'deluxeâ?� DVD presentation includes a mini-soundtrack CD of the movie's songs performed by Aretha Franklin (the actors sing the versions in the movie), including the No. 1 single 'Something He Can Feel.â?�


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.