Who's in It:
Marion Coles, Elaine Ellis, Cleo Hayes, Fay Ray
The Basics: These stunning old ladies, all former Harlem Renaissance showgirls, performed with folks like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Cab Calloway. Despite their seniority, they refuse to buy rocking chairs and Rascals (you know, those mobility scooters); instead, they form a new dance troupe, the Silver Belles, and they kick it on a regular basis. The youngest one of them is 84, the oldest is 96. Feeling lame yet?
What's the Deal? Remember that part in St. Elmo's Fire when Demi Moore is rocking back and forth, all autistic-like? She's naked in an artfully windswept empty room, curtains billowing around her while she weeps, "I never thought I'd be this tired at 21!" I kept thinking about her while I watched this and wished one of these women had been there to kick her ass. Then put Demi in a sparkly hat and take her on tour.
Sociology on the Back Burner: There's not much explicit talk about racism in this movie other than reminiscences of how the women couldn't eat in "whites-only" restaurants. Not that that's not plenty, mind you. And when 80-something Cleo Hayes talks about getting out of Mississippi for New York, you don't have to sit around figuring out why. It's just that joie de vivre is the first thing on this movie's agenda.
Cool Place They Danced Where You'll Never Even Get to Set Foot: The Cotton Club. There's plenty of archival footage and photos.
How Long, Oh Lord? Only 81 minutes. But you'll want way more. If only it could have traded running times with the 150-minute Da Vinci Code.