The Outrageous Sophie Tucker by William Gazecki, Sue Ecker, and Lloyd Ecker (US, 2014, 96 min.). Before Beyoncé, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe or Mae West, there was Sophie Tucker! Nicknamed “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas,” Tucker ruled vaudeville, Broadway, radio, and television in the first half of the 20th century. Born in Russia in 1887 into a poor Orthodox Jewish family, Tucker (nee Sonya Kalish) fought her way to stardom with an infectious mix of blues-inflected songs, irreverent humor, business acumen, and bawdy showmanship. Interviews with Tony Bennett, Barbara Walters, Michael Feinstein, and many others, along with wonderful archival materials drawn from Tucker’s 400 (!) scrapbooks—100 of which are archived at Brandeis University—are worth the price of admission. So are the letters from FBI chief Hoover, who requested one of Sophie’s cast-off gown. Boston Premiere.
Discussion with Joyce Antler, author of You Never Call, You Never Write: A History of the Jewish Mother, follows screening.
“Hugely enjoyable. Will prompt an outburst of sophiemania,” Toronto Star.