• PORGY and BESS, 1959


According to official archives the original 1959 film was never released to the public. The Gershwin estate was disappointed as the score had been substantially edited to make it more like a musical. Much of the music was omitted from the film, and many of Gershwin's orchestrations were either changed or completely scrapped. In March 1992 major sections of the actual film footage was discarded due to acetate deterioration.

In 1993, the Glyndebourne Festival stage production of Porgy and Bess was greatly expanded scenically and taped by the BBC in a television studio without an audience and is the only version of the opera to officially appear on DVD or Video.

This is the 1959 film version transferred from VHS. This is the most complete version of the film you are ever likely to find.
Set among the black residents of a fishing village in 1912 South Carolina, Bess - a woman with a disreputable history - tries to break free from her brutish lover Crown after he becomes wanted for murder. The only person willing to overlook her past and offer her shelter is the crippled Porgy. Their relationship is threatened by the disapproval of the townspeople, the presence of her old drug supplier Sportin' Life - and the threatened return of Crown.

Sidney Poitier ... Porgy
Dorothy Dandridge ... Bess
Sammy Davis Jr. ... Sportin' Life
Pearl Bailey ... Maria
Brock Peters ... Crown
Leslie Scott ... Jake
Diahann Carroll ... Clara
Ruth Attaway ... Serena Robbins
Claude Akins ... Detective
Clarence Muse ... Peter
Everdinne Wilson ... Annie
Joel Fluellen ... Robbins
Earl Jackson ... Mingo
Moses LaMarr ... Nelson
Margaret Hairston ... Lily
Ivan Dixon ... Jim
Antoine Durousseau ... Scipio
Helen Thigpen ... Strawberry woman
Vince Townsend ... Elderly man
William Walker ... Undertaker
Roy Glenn ... Frazier
Maurice Manson ... Coroner

Adele Addison ... Bess (singing voice) (uncredited)
Maya Angelou ... Dancer (uncredited)
Geoffrey Holder ... Dancer (uncredited)
Inez Matthews ... Serena (singing voice) (uncredited)
Robert McFerrin ... Porgy (singing voice) (uncredited)
Nichelle Nichols ... Dancer (uncredited)
Loulie Jean Norman ... Clara (singing voice) (uncredited)

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PORGY and BESS, 1959

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Tags: 1959, porgy and bess