Standing in the Shadows of Motown


Action / Documentary / Music

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Elvis Presley Photo
Elvis Presley as Himself
Mick Jagger Photo
Mick Jagger as Himself
Andre Braugher Photo
Andre Braugher as Narrator
Diana Ross Photo
Diana Ross as Herself
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
946.88 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 48 min
P/S 0 / 3
1.68 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 48 min
P/S 1 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by classicsoncall8 / 10

"Without them, there really wouldn't be a Motown" - Paul Riser

Stop and think about it - how many archival clips or segments from TV Variety shows of the Sixties have you seen of the top singing groups of the day? Did you ever wonder who made the music behind singers like The Temptations, The Four Tops or The Supremes? "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" at least partially answers that question, by bringing out the story of The Funk Brothers, a loose collaboration of roughly a dozen studio musicians who played on more Number #1 song hits than the biggest acts you can call to mind - combined! Individually, the Funk Brothers have no name recognition to speak of, unless you're a musician yourself, in which case you might have heard of Motown pioneers like James Jamerson or Earl Van Dyke.

Considering all the musical styles that came out of the Sixties era, the Motown sound left a singular impression that still entertains and inspires today, and a lot of it is due to the musical mastery from behind the scenes, unheralded names that even today remain mostly anonymous. "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" is a good starting point to begin learning the back story to some of your favorite music from back in the day.

Many of these talented players migrated North to escape poverty and find jobs in the auto factories of Detroit during the late Fifties and early Sixties, and by virtue of their talent and creativity, many were discovered and offered studio work by legendary producer Berry Gordy. There were even a couple of white musicians in the mix, and in that regard, it's quite moving to hear the surviving members speak in reverential tones of their friendship for each other and how color was no barrier to their playing, traveling and getting along together over the course of the next four decades.

Reviewed by moonspinner555 / 10

No broken hearts in this music club...a celebration of song and remembrances

Cocky jazz musicians in the Detroit area circa 1958 were recruited by fledgling Motown record label founder Berry Gordy to play uncredited back-up on songs by Mary Wells, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Marvelettes, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye--racking up session work on more #1 hits than all other rock and R&B groups put together. This documentary on the unsung Funk Brothers is a bit scattered about, with reunion concert footage mixed in with interviews and reenactments, but I'm a sucker for movies where old-timers go back to the haunts of their youth (which take on a miraculous glow, mitigating the rough times and the hard work spent there). It's rather presumptuous for one of the Brothers' contemporaries to say these songs would have worked no matter who was singing, but I don't think "Deputy Dawg" could have taken "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" to the top of the charts. In essence, the songwriters and the superstar groups who propelled these classics are given short shrift in favor of spotlighting the talents of these truly wonderful musicians, however the collaborative nature of Motown (or, indeed, of any major record label) is hardly touched upon. ** from ****

Reviewed by jotix10010 / 10

In the beginning it was The Funk Brothers

"Standing in the Shadows of Motown" is a documentary that has to be seen by all lovers of popular music. This is a must for all fans of the best sound that came out in the middle of the last century from Detroit. Paul Justman, the director of this extraordinary documentary, takes us into a fantastic voyage to the place where the music was born. Aided by the narration of Ntozake Shange and Walter Dallas, this film will warm up anybody's heart.

The documentary is a tribute to the people that created most of the hits that became popular and went to become classics: The Funk Brothers, as they were known. The survivors of these talented musicians are presented individually, and those no longer living are remembered with anecdotes told by living artists in loving memory of them. These talented musicians gave America, and the world, some of the most memorable songs of its history.

The Funk Brothers' music had such an edge, that everything else written by popular songwriters pale in comparison. Detroit nurtured these magnificent musicians and gave them the base where they were able to excel by creating something that wasn't easily duplicated by their contemporaries, or their followers.

In a poignant performance Chaka Khan, perhaps the best and most original exponent of the genre gives an amazing rendition of the old Marvin Gaye's mega hit, "What's going on". Then, to end the film, this incredible and generous singer is seen and heard with Montell Jordan singing "Ain't no Mountain High", which keep us singing, smiling, and shedding a tear for that innocent bygone era that the sensational Funk Brothers created for our delight and pleasure.

Long live the Funk Brothers and the sound they left behind. Amen!

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