TIFF 2017 Movie Review: SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOT TO BE ME (USA 2017) ****

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2017. Go to TIFF 2017 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.
sammy davis jrA star-studded roster of interviewees (including Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal) pay tribute to the legendary, multi-talented song-and-dance man.


Sammy Davis Jr.

As in the words of Sammy Davis, Jr. himself, “I am coloured, Jewish and Puerto Rican. When I move into a neighbourhood, I wipe it out.”

The same might be said for this exhaustive documentary, courtesy of director Sam Pollard, notable for having worked with Spike Lee. Davis’ talent and gift are so immense, that his presence takes over the entire movie. The doc does not contain a whole list of interviewees but just the most important ones – all being comedians including the recently deceased Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal.

All pay tribute to the legendary, multi-talented song-and-dance man, in this exhilarating documentary which is part of the American Masters series. Davis is shown here as dancer, singer (including a full rendering of the songs ‘I’ve Got to be Me’ and ‘Mr. Bojangles’), impressionist, and actor of unparalleled charisma.

He broke racial barriers (including marrying a white wife) but paid a heavy price for it. Pollard’s documentary of the legend ends up both an insightful and entertaining piece. I am sure many like me, could watch Sammy Davis, Jr. for hours.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu8AV81ANTw

sammy davis jr1