1968 Certificate: pg


Shirley MacLaine is the tart with the heart of gold who falls in love with a naive young man (John McMartin) who doesn't know about her 'profession' in Bob Fosse's lively adaptation of the successful stage musical. A huge flop when it was released, the years have been kind to Sweet Charity so consider it a worthy donation of your time.


  • Bob Fosse


  • Shirley MacLaine

  • Sammy Davis Jr

  • Ricardo Montalban


Bob Fosse's musical remake of Federico Fellini's Nights of Cabiria casts the kooky Shirley Maclaine as a hostess girl looking for Mr. Right, but finding a slew of Mr. Wrongs.

Eye-popping, colourful and effortlessly cool dance numbers make this a feast for the senses.

On the surface the story is a sweet tale of true love, but as this is from the brains behind Chicago the telling of the tale goes into murkier waters.

The titular Charity (Maclaine) works in a sleazy club and repeatedly has to avoid the pitfalls of her trade, and her Mr. Right is a small-minded prude reluctant to accept her history.

But, while the path to true love is beset with compromise, Fosse refuses to surrender his vision when it comes to staging lavish spectacle.

The astonishing musical sequences blend physical and cinematic choreography to dazzling effect (look out for a cameo from Sammy Davis Jr. as a hot-shoe-shuffling bohemian), and make the recent big-screen incarnations of Chicago and The Producers look club-footed by comparison.

Only Baz Lurhmann's Moulin Rouge! comes close.

Rob Daniel