Only the Strong Survive
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Fascinating group portrait of soul and R & B legends who are still touring 40 years after their original fame, enduring even after they've been relegated to the nostalgia circuit.
Los Angeles Times
It emphasizes its stars' capacity to endure as individuals and entertainers and does not dwell on the harder times and personal travails they survived. However, it acknowledges the well-known exploitation black artists have traditionally experienced in the pop music industry.
The New York Times
In its zeal to bring recognition to an underappreciated genre, it has an agenda similar to that of last year's revelatory documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."
The frustrating part is that Only the Strong Survive includes at least as many mundane moments as soul-stirring ones -- and the film isn't much more than a collection of moments.
New York Post
Captures some remarkably vivid present-day performances by the aging performers.
I'd have welcomed more archival footage (Pennebaker did, after all, document Otis Redding's epochal performance at the Monterey Pop Festival), but that would be asking for another movie.
The rather sad performances boast more clams than a Pismo beach party.
This film has so many chances to spice up the screen....and passes, I was wondering if I were watching an info-mercial for some kind of "K-Tel Classics- Revisted" album.
San Francisco Chronicle
Sometimes the story just lies there like an old cat in the sun.
All Only the Strong Survive has to offer are scraps, and it's a sad thing to sit through a movie billed as a tribute to a group of terrific performers and to come away with nothing more than scraps.
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