The Outrageous Sophie Tucker

(USA 2014)

Who was Sophie Tucker? Born Sonya Kalish in 1887, The Outrageous Sophie Tucker walks us through her rags to riches climb to the top of vaudeville in the early 20th Century and makes a strong case for her as the true original sassy, strong blonde—long before Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, and even Mae West.

Tucker seems like she was a riot: she stayed out all night and slept until afternoon, she had a girlfriend during the Depression, and J. Edgar Hoover (allegedly) wanted one of her gowns. Thoroughly enjoyable on multiple levels and from multiple perspectives, The Outrageous Sophie Tucker is historical, political, social, and even prurient (i.e., celebrity gossip from Hollywood’s Golden Era). It also celebrates early Jewish contributions to American entertainment—remarkable for a time when being Jewish wasn’t exactly kosher in America.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival

(St. Anthony Main) B+

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