Rejoice and Shout
Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord!
Release Date: June 03, 2011
Starring: Smokey Robinson, Mavis
Staples, Marie Knight, Willa
Ward, Andraé Crouch, Ira
Turner and other performances
by Mahalia Jackson, Cara Ward,
Claude Jeter and the Swan
Silver Tones, The Rev. James
Cleveland, Kirk Franklin,
Edwin Hawkins, Sister Rosetta
Tharpe, Darrel Petties, the
Dixie Hummingbirds, the Five
Blind Boys of Alabama and
Audience: Older children to adults
Runtime: 115 minutes
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Director: Don McGlynn
Executive Producer: Mark Cuban, Todd Wagner
Producer: Joe Lauro
Address Comments To:Bill Banowski, CEO, Magnolia Pictures (Magnet Releasing)
1614 West 5th St.
Austin, TX 78703
Eamon Bowles, President, Magnolia Pictures (Magnet Releasing)
43 West 27th St., 7th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 924-6701; Fax: (212) 924-6742
Website: www.magpictures.com; Email: info@ magpictures.com
The documentary starts out with a tremendous, soul-stirring performance of “Amazing Grace” by a young, nameless African American girl from The Selvy Family Singers. It then begins its survey of the history of black gospel music and its biggest stars. It starts, of course, with the Southern plantation owners during slavery bringing the African slaves to Christianity and church. Then, it picks up with the first black gospel record in 1902 by the Dinwiddie Colored Quartet. With interviews by three gospel music historians and singers like Smokey Robinson, the movie then proceeds to give a rundown of the history since then, by focusing mostly on the major leaders and performers in the field. Included are many great musical numbers. Among the highlights are Mahalia Jackson’s first amazing TV appearance on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW in the early 1950s, a wonderful turn by Claude Jeter and The Swan Silvertones, a powerful performance by Mavis Staples of The Staples Singers, a solo by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and two lead singers from the Dixie Hummingbirds trading off vocals at a rapid pace.
One may quibble that REJOICE AND SHOUT focuses two much attention on the impact of individual gospel music performers, leaders and teachers like Thomas A. Dorsey and the Rev. James Cleveland. This does make the movie seem a bit too long. That said, REJOICE AND SHOUT is a soul stirring, inspiring homage to Almighty God, including Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
There are only several very minor sour notes. First, we would have loved to see a performance by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers. Second, there’s one number where some dancers in flashy halter-tops and short shorts shake their legs in time to the music. Third, at the end, there’s a politically correct nod to President Barack Obama and his election, who’s connected to the ministry of The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., simply because Obama and the media consider him to be black. Finally, the movie seems to have some bias toward the African roots of modern popular music, including gospel and country music, apparently neglecting the importance of the Scottish, Irish folk music contribution. In this case, being Afro-centric is perhaps just as wrong as being Euro-centric.
Despite these very minor points, media-wise viewers, including Christians and Non-Christians, will find REJOICE AND SHOUT to be an impassioned, cheerful and engaging look at black gospel music and the role it plays in American life, yesterday and today.
“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD. . .”
-- Psalm 98:4, KJV.
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”
-- Psalm 95:1, KJV.
One may quibble that REJOICE AND SHOUT focuses too much attention on the impact of individual gospel music performers, leaders and teachers. This does make the movie seem a bit long. That said, REJOICE AND SHOUT is a soul stirring, inspiring homage to Almighty God, including Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. There are only a few very minor sour notes. For example, there’s one performance with four female dancers in short shorts. Also, there’s a brief politically correct nod to President Obama and his election simply because he’s the first black president. REJOICE AND SHOUT extols Christian faith repeatedly, however.