What You Need To Know:
DARK STREETS is visually lush and musically rich. Interspersed with the plot are eye-popping blues numbers, including dancing, coupled with songs on the soundtrack. All of the music comments on the action in the story. The choreography is uneven, however, ranging from just okay to impressive. The story and characters in DARK STREETS are not as appealing as the music and dancing, especially when the people who killed the protagonist’s father get away with the crime. Thus, DARK STREETS is a rather nihilistic, humanist movie where the bad guys defeat the hero. It also contains strong foul language, strong sexual content and brief drug use.
(HH, Ro, Ab, B, LL, VV, SS, NN, A, DD, MMM) Strong, dark humanist worldview with some Romantic elements and a depressing ending that includes line in soundtrack, “I ask God for nothing, and I got it in spades,” plus light moral element where protagonist learns his murdered father cared for him and tried to protect him from corrupt forces, but father actually fails to prevent evil villain from getting hands on all his wealth; 11 obscenities, two strong profanities and one light profanity; strong brief violence includes implied shooting of man in head, man’s head lies in pool of blood, loan shark shot dead while threatening protagonist, deaths made to look like accidents or suicide, injured victim with blood on gurney, and man’s head lies on top of pool of blood; strong sexual content includes two scenes of depicted fornication, implied fornication in another scene, and heavy kissing in another scene with couple locked in sexual embrace and are then interrupted; rear female nudity in one scene, brief hard to notice upper female nudity in dressing room shot and upper male nudity, plus dancers in suggestive costumes; alcohol use; smoking and implied and depicted drug use; and, lying, betrayal, jealousy, murder plot, corruption succeeds, and evil triumphs.
DARK STREETS is a quirky film noir musical that may remind some of Bob Fosse’s Oscar-winning movie with Liza Minneli, CABARET. The movie is not entirely successful, however, partly because it ends on a note of despair and defeat in which evil triumphs.
Set in New York City in some fantasy past, the story focuses on Chaz Davenport, a naïve playboy and nightclub owner who investigates the apparent suicide of his wealthy father. Blackouts are plaguing the city and his nightclub, as is a menacing loan shark. Chaz forsakes his affair with Crystal, his star blues singer, for a mysterious, seductive chanteuse named Madelaine. When people close to Chaz turn up dead, Chaz’s investigation spins out of control.
Interspersed with this plot are eye-popping blues numbers, including dancing, coupled with songs on the soundtrack, that act like the songs in CABARET, by commenting on the action in the plot. To sing the bluesy songs, the filmmakers rely on such notable artists as Etta James, Aaron Neville, Natalie Cole, B.B King, and Chaka Khan.
DARK STREETS is visually lush as well as musically rich. The choreography is uneven, however, ranging from just okay to impressive. Some of the best dancing features an interesting newcomer going by the name Toledo, who plays the nightclub’s emcee and narrates the story.
The story and characters in DARK STREETS are not as appealing as the music and dancing. This is especially true when the person who killed the protagonist’s father gets away with the crime. Thus, DARK STREETS is a rather nihilistic, humanist movie where the bad guys defeat the hero. That’s pretty depressing, even though the protagonist learns that his father really cared for him and tried to protect him. Ultimately, of course, the father failed. The movie also contains strong foul language, strong sexual content and drug use (see our CONTENT section above for details).