Josephine Baker: Princesse Tam Tam (1935)
Director: Edmond T. Gréville, Writers: Pepito Abatino (scenario), Yves Mirande (dialogue) and Storyline: Max de Mirecourt, celebrated French novelist, takes a vacation from his social-butterfly wife in Tunisia, where he meets beautiful Alwina, a barefoot hill shepherdess. To cure his writer’s block, Max casts Alwina as heroine in a real-life ‘Pygmalion’ story. She reacts to civilized ways and emotions with charming simplicity. Now Max, stung by reports of his wife’s affair with a dark-skinned maharajah, has the idea of launching Alwina in Paris society as a princess. Will civilization spoil her wild charms? Who will pair off with whom? Cast: Josephine Baker … Alwina, Albert Préjean … Max de Mirecourt (as Albert Prejean), Robert Arnoux … Coton, Germaine Aussey … Lucie de Mirecourt, Georges Péclet … Dar (as Georges Peclet), Viviane Romance … Lucie’s Friend, Jean Galland … Maharajah of Datane.
Based on twenty years of research and thousands of interviews, this authoritative biography of performer Josephine Baker (1906-1975) provides a candid look at her tempestuous life. Born into poverty in St. Louis, the uninhibited chorus girl became the sensation of Europe and the last century’s first black sex symbol. A heroine of the French Resistance in World War II, she entranced figures as diverse as de Gaulle, Tito, Castro, Princess Grace, two popes, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Yet Josephine was also, as one critic put it, “a monster who made Joan Crawford look like the Virgin Mary.” Jean-Claude Baker’s book also reveals her outbursts that resulted in lasting feuds, her imperious treatment of family and entourage members, and her ambivalent attitudes concerning her ethnic background. Reconciling Josephine’s many personas—Jazz-age icon, national hero of France, proponent of Civil Rights, mother of children from across the globe—Josephine: The Hungry Heartgives readers the inside story on a star unlike any other before or since.