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Say Amen, Somebody 1982
Description: Documentary on modern black gospel music, focusing on the pioneering Rev. Thomas Dorsey and Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith
Released: 11 Mar 1983 Director: George T. Nierenberg Writers: N/A Actors: Delois Barrett Campbell, Thomas A. Dorsey, Billie Barrett GreenBey, Sallie Martin Genres: Documentary, Music
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Say Amen, Somebody Reviews:

I first saw this film on Bravo or A&E and was immediately captivated. I found it a year or so soon on VHS and almost wore the tape out. I showed it to as many of my mates and family who would watch it. I am elated to finally see it released on DVD with premium material and an accompanying soundtrack CD. This is my favourite movie/documentary of all time, bar none. It inspires me, and moves me. Folks don't sing like that anymore. Mother Willie May Ford Smith is absolutely a joy to listen to and watch. All of the persons featured are amazing. I just want I should have heard Mother Smith in her prime. Mr. Dorsey is the Father of Gospel and I loved watching him sing and talk. This is Gospel 101. Everyone who aspires to be a Gospel singer could watch this. Everyone who loves history/music could watch this. It is a Master's Class in performance. Enjoy.


I'm shocked at how several folks have seen this movie and voted on it. I accept fully with Leonard Maltin's 4-star summary. It's not only a documentary on the lives of two of gospel's founders, Willie Mae Ford Smith and Thomas Dorsey, but it follows them and their families, along with another gospel singers, in the show day.In some ways, it reminds me of HOOP DREAMS. In one scene, Zella Jackson Price is feeling insecure, talking over serious family problems in the kitchen. And then she's in church, belting out "I'm satisfied just to know that I'm His child", one of the most powerful, and moving gospel renditions I've heard. And I'm not religious.As I write this, 2500 folks have voted for HOWARD THE DUCK, only 10 for SAY AMEN, SOMEBODY. Something's definitely wrong here.


Details outstanding performances by Willie May Ford Smith, Thomas A. Dorsey, Sallie Martin, the Barrett Sisters, Edward and Edgar O'Neal and Zella Jackson Price. For anyone interested in true Gospel and not some choreographed Hollywood version, look no further.This movie is simply a celebration of Gospel melody as sung by kid choirs, as sung by its youngest rising stars and its oldest pioneers, as sung in churches and in kitchens, with musical accompaniment as well as a capella. The careers of Willie May Ford Smith and Thomas Dorsey deliever background to discover the development of Gospel through the 20th Century.We are so lucky to have this record of Thomas A. Dorsey (July 1, 1899 - January 23, 1993) on film. It shows the Father of Gospel Melody to be a commanding choir director even at 83 years of age.A sincere, exuberant experience.



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