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Lackawanna Blues [DVD]

1 customer review

Price: £7.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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£7.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 1 left in stock. Sold by Qoolist and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Actors: S. Epatha Merkerson, Marcus Carl Franklin, Mos Def, Carmen Ejogo, Louis Gossett Jr
  • Directors: George C. Wolfe
  • Producers: Nellie Nugiel
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Whv
  • DVD Release Date: 3 April 2006
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,298 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Drama based on the acclaimed autobiographical one-man show by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. The movie looks at the ties that bind an African-American community in the period just before desegregation. The drama takes place primarily as a flashback to Freddie Cobbs' (Santiago-Hudson) childhood, starting with his birth in the upstate NY town of Lackawanna during a raucous Friday-night fish fry hosted by Rachel 'Nanny' Crosby (S. Epatha Merkerson). As a boy in the 1950s and 60s, with his parents unable to take care of him, Ruben Jr. is essentially adopted by Nanny, proprietor of a rooming house and mentor to countless down-on-their luck blacks who moved there from Nanny's hometown in Virginia. Nanny's place is not just walls and a roof, but a home where misfits and drifters can escape their personal hells to find a fresh start and a family. Against this background, Jr. receives an education in life from a diverse and colorful group of boarders. However, his biggest bond will always be with Nanny, in a relationship that nobody, not even a pair of zealous social workers, can tear asunder.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Culture Kinetica on 19 Nov. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Superb film. Stellar ensemble cast. Compellingly paced and rivetting from start to finish. Beautiful cinematography and fluid direction from the brilliant George C. Wolfe, all tied together with a poignant autobiographical screenplay by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Kudos to HBO for backing worthwhile cinema like this.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 259 reviews
66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Quite Simply, Exquisite!!!!! 28 Mar. 2006
By Raider Jack - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ever since I first encountered the Divine Ms Merkerson as a sex therapist in Spike Lee's "She's Gotta Have It" I have been sold on the range of this exceedingly gifted yet terribly underrated actress. She received an Emmy for her portrayal here and to say it is well-deserved is a masterpiece of understatement.

Here she simply shines as THE guiding force and hand in her community. This was especially poignant for me for I grew up in this very same time period. The production detail was phenomenal and evoked wooooooooooooooonderful memories of life and times during the 50s & 60s and of women like Ms Merkerson portrayed. She was thoroughly and ably accompanied by a hot, hot cast with performances one would enjoy over and over again. I first saw Macy Gray's name in the credits and went ho-hum. Her performance was so good, I didn't even recognize her until about a 3rd of the way through. I am especially proud of the obvious care and attention to detail to produce a feel and look of another beautiful era in African-American culture that is very tastefully done.

Another very interesting aspect is that the project was less concerned with the racial fabric of the times but inifinitely more attuned to the richness of the characters and the emotional diversity they provide to exemplify that in the final analysis it is about the choices we make and to what extent we accept responsibility for those choices.

This is a worthy, elegant presentation of African-American life and is most assuredly destined to become a classic. You owe it to yourself to have this as part of your collection.

I highly recommend.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Lacking Nothing 26 Oct. 2005
By A. D. Bowman - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of those movies that grabs you from the beginning and twist and slams you emotionally throughout the feature. The cast is extraordinary without the faintest hint of anyone being uncormfortable in their role. You get the sense that you're really there taking all this in. A great deal of care was given in the sets, costumes and music of the period. The relationship between the characters we meet is both simple and complicated as the movie goes on, but the steady performance of Ms. Merkerson is so powerful that the movie ends before we've had our fill of the wonderful misfits. To single out anyone other than "Nanny" is an injustice because we have very good performances by great veteran actors including Jeffery Wright, Jimmy Smits, Terrence Howard and Delroy Lindo. But it is Marcus Franklin, Macy Gray and Ms. Merkerson that makes this a wonderful experience. The movie moves rapidly and is short by todays standards, but it is without question one of the best movies you're going to see this year. If you like good period pieces that will challenge you emotionally, tug at your heart, lift you joyfully and have you tapping your feet at the same time, then this is the movie for you. I've shown it to several friends and they all want my copy, that says it all, the movie is that good. Check it out for yourself.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A Triumph on Every Level! 18 Feb. 2006
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format: DVD
LACKAWANNA BLUES is a fine stage play by Ruben Santiago-Hudson and an even finer film as the author adapted his own life story for the screen. This brilliant film ignites the screen with rich colors, fine music, brilliant editing, superb direction by George C. Wolfe, and a cast so stunning that they make an encore viewing compulsory! Yes, it is just that good.

The story is based on the author's life as the child 'Junior' (Marcus Carl Franklin) raised in the inimitable home of soulfully empathetic Rachel "Nanny" Crosby (S. Epatha Merkerson),
a lady who devoted her life to aiding the disenfranchised by transporting them from the South, from mental hospitals, and from the streets to Lackawanna, New York. The boy recalls all the lessons he learned about life from the inhabitants of the house - odd characters with painful pasts - and from the disintegration of his racially mixed biological family rescued by Nanny. The myriad characters of the home are too numerous to outline but they are portrayed by some of the finest actors in the business: Terrence Howard, Rosie Perez, Mos Def, the beautiful Carmen Ejogo, Louis Gossett Jr., Jeffrey Wright, Ernie Hudson, Charlayne Woodward, Jimmy Smits, Patricia Wettig, Macy Gray, Liev Schreiber, Kathleen Chalfant, Lou Myers, Hill Harper - the list goes on and on.

In the course of the film we are introduced to the cruelties of racism, the history of desegregation, the dynamics of drug abuse and violence, the infectious joy of African American music contributions to our musical culture, and the courage of one fine woman who battled all the hardships the world can dish out to maintain the dignity of those with whom she came into contact. S. Epatha Merkerson is wholly submerged in this role, a role she makes shine like a beacon of reason in a world of chaos. She offers one of the most stunning performances of the past years, and had this film been released in the theaters instead of as an HBO movie, she without a doubt would add the Oscar to place along side her Golden Globe award.

The entire cast is exceptional and Wolfe handles the acting and the story like a master: like riffs in a jazz piece, he pastes tiny moments of conversation with each character and Junior along with flashes of scenes from the story with the matrix of dance fests at the local clubs brimming over the top with incredible blues, jazz, dancing, and joy. The production crew has mounted this little miracle of a picture with extreme care and never for a moment does attention lag from the momentum of the story. Highly Recommended, almost Compulsory Viewing! Grady Harp, February 06
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Lackawanna Blues 19 Jan. 2007
By Thomas L. Clark - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Excellent and brings back alot of memories. Actors performances were great. Most Black folks that migrated from the south to the north can relate to this movie. Families looking out for one another. Besides the pain and heartaches there was fun,style and encouragement to succeed or defying the odds. Reuben is to be commended for bringing this story to life. This is an American story and one that can be enjoyed by all.The blues express sadness and joy. I can say these things as I was born and raised in Lackawanna NY. This will be a classic.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Entertainment for cultued adults and those that need some with love. 5 Nov. 2006
By R. Rubio - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very moving, tender, tough ...right to the core..and the dance scenes are to die for. The length a parent(one remarkable woman) will go for the love of a child and all children and those adults she brings into her life and soul that are in NEED, rich or poor,good or mis-understood comes through... so well done. Shared with many of my closest friends,,,,,
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