July CinemaLit - Dreamgirls (2006) | Mechanics' Institute

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July CinemaLit - Dreamgirls (2006)
American Musicals: Doo Wop and Divas!

Friday, July 26, 2024 - 6:00 pm

July 26 SEASON FINALE - Dreamgirls (2006), 129 minutes, directed by Bill Condon, starring Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, and Jennifer Hudson

It took 25 years to get the 1981 Tony awarded Dreamgirls on the screen, and great care was taken by director-screenwriter Bill Condon (Chicago) to get it right. Dreamgirls comes with a hugely talented ensemble - Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, and Jennifer Hudson, the latter winning an Oscar for her singing-acting tour de force. This roman a clef was inspired by The Supremes and their journey from humble 1960s Detroit girl group to global superstars. But Dreamgirls is more than a dissection of Motown and The Supremes. It becomes a fantasia of sorts of American R&B music and the whole glorious, sordid, heartbreaking, and triumphant business of American entertainment.

July 2024 CinemaLit - American Musicals: Doo Wop and Divas!

This month we explore American life through history and musical genres. One of our films, Dreamgirls from 2006, comes from that most American of art forms, the Broadway musical, while another, Hairspray from 1988, became a later musical triumph on stage. Come finish the 2023/2024 season with tuneful films with heart and substance.


Matthew Kennedy, CinemaLit’s curator, has written biographies of Marie Dressler, Joan Blondell, and Edmund Goulding. His book Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, was the basis of a film series on Turner Classic Movies. His most recent book, On Elizabeth Taylor: An Opinionated Guide, examines the screen legend's entire career.

I don't have a favorite film,” Matthew says. "I find that my relationships to films, actors, genres, and directors change as I change over the years. Some don't hold up. Some look more profound, as though I've caught up with their artistry. I feel that way about Garbo, Cary Grant, director John Cassavetes, and others."

Classic films have historical context, something only time can provide,” Matt observes. “They become these great cultural artifacts, so revealing of tastes, attitudes, and assumptions.”

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CinemaLit Films

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Non-Members $10
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Future CinemaLit Films

Jul 19 - 6:00 pm

July CinemaLit - Hairspray (1988)
American Musicals: Doo Wop and Divas!