Sammy Davis Jr.; I've Gotta Be Me
Dwight Casimere | 10/20/2017, 3:30 p.m.
"I'm Black, Puerto Rican and a Jew. Man, when I move into a neighborhood, I wipe it out!" The begins the documentary Sammy Davis Jr.:I Gotta Be Me. Award winning director Sam Pollard delivers one of the most heart-felt and thorough documentaries of the festival, profiling one of the entertainment world's most complicated subjects, Sammy Davis Jr., who was both celebrated and reviled with equal vigor over a more than 60 year career that spanned the world's of black-faced minstrel vaudeville, to the Golden Age of Television, Las Vegas and the film industry. " The film had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and is presented as part of Black Perspectives; Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival Friday, October 20 at 5:30pm. Sammy Davis Jr. was a meteor that burned much too quickly," were the words of writer Todd Boyd, one of the interview subjects and chronicler of Davis' controversial career near the end of the film. Fellow comedians Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal and Jerry Lewis weigh in among a raft of song and lyric collaborators, producers, historians and just plain folk, who were all touched by the lives of this at once pathetic and heroic figure in American entertainment history. It was Sammy Davis Jr., please note, who was the first black man to sleep over night in the White House, and not Barack Obama. He was also the first to break the color barrier in entertainment in Las Vegas and, to a large extent, in movies, with his front-and-center involvement in the Rat Pack, which was organized by his mentor and surrogate 'Big Brother, Frank Sinatra. Sammy also broke ground by becoming the first black entertainer to do impressions of white performers such as his good friend Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Jimmy Stewart, and others"Nixon gave him a validity and a confirmation and an approval that he so desperately sought over his entire life and career, Nixon gave him his regard as a person!" proclaimed Robert J. Brown, who was then a close adviser to Nixon and one of his few black insiders during his administration. Sammy Davis Jr.;' I've Gotta Be Me" is a must see film, especially in this day of controversy over black superstar athletes who are protesting a raft of grievances within the NFL and society, which is rippling with shock waves through the entertainment world and society at large.