The Blues A Musical Journey: Warming by the Devil's Fire

Writer/director Charles Burnett offers a slice of childhood autobiography, a summer away from his god-fearing West Coast family spent in the company of his louche-living Mississippi uncle Buddy. Expecting a baptism of the gospel variety, he's instead inducted into the way of sex and the blues. It's a languorous, even listless piece of storytelling that stands almost entirely on Burnett's dreamy parade of archive performers. Son House, Willie Dixon, WC Handy and a notably strong selection of women (Ida Cox, Mamie Smith, Bessie Smith) flit by, haunted spirits now doing the haunting.

Release details

Duration: 89 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Charles Burnett
Screenwriter: Charles Burnett
Cast: Tommy Hicks
Nathaniel Lee Jr
archival performances Son House
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Mississippi John Hurt
Victoria Spivey
Willie Dixon
Muddy Waters
Ida Cox
Mamie Smith
Lightnin' Hopkins
Reverend Gary Davis
Big Bill Broonzy
WC Handy
Sonny Boy Williamson
Bessie Smith
Carl Lumbly
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