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TCM to broadcast Motown movies

Julie Hinds
Detroit Free Press (MCT)

DETROIT — Turner Classic Movies plans to salute the music of Motown with an all-night film marathon on April 14.

The cable network devoted to all things cinematic will show five films with ties to the legendary music company that Berry Gordy Jr. founded in Detroit.

The schedule begins at 8 p.m. EDT and will show:

"Thank God It's Friday" (1978), a disco comedy that won a best song Oscar for Donna Summer's "Last Dance" and was one of several movies produced by Motown Productions. The cast included future stars like Jeff Goldblum and Debra Winger.

"Standing in the Shadows of Motown" (2002), a documentary about the Funk Brothers, the studio musicians who brought their talent to the famous Motown hits.

"Lady Sings the Blues" (1972), another Motown Productions movie that starred Diana Ross as jazz singer Billie Holiday. The film's five Oscar nominations included one for Ross as best actress.

"The Big Chill" (1983), the baby-boomer classic by director Lawrence Kasdan that benefits greatly from the Motown songs in its soundtrack.

"Norman ... Is That You?" (1976), a comedy starring Redd Foxx and Pearl Bailey that also featured Motown music. The story line involves an African-American father who discovers his son is gay.

TCM says the marathon is marking the 50th anniversary of the day Berry Gordy Jr. incorporated the company. There's never been agreement over what constitutes Motown's official anniversary date, but its current parent company and the Motown Historical Museum began their 50th celebrations in January 2009.

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