Another recent PBS highlight was the airing of Janis: Little Girl Blue, which I had missed during its theatrical release a few months back. I love good PBS programming, and American Masters is continually excellent, but it would be nice if they wouldn’t claim films as their own original production without a nod to prior release; this is not the first time they’ve done that.
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WHEN JANIS SINGS, I’M GLUED. At the program’s start, I said ‘ho-hum, I’ll flip between this and baseball.’ That flip never happened, and baseball took a night off.
This documentary ended up being one of the most magnificently compelling musical biographies I’ve seen — in a sense, much deeper than Amy. It features a ton of never seen before footage (by me anyway). Janis Joplin was a joyously, deeply talented performer, heralded in her lifetime as “Queen of the Blues.” Little Girl Blue does a good job sticking to her life story, which is all that needs to be done.
One more dig though on the PBS airing: they kept bleeping out any one of the 7 words you can’t say on television. Very annoying. But a funny thing about those words. Although I wish PBS would have some cojones, it’s almost always readily evident which one of those words is being bleeped. So, annoying, but not enough to truly diminish the powerful story. And then there is this on the PBS airing:
Never-before-seen extended cut features new interviews with Alecia Moore (a.k.a. Pink), Juliette Lewis, Melissa Etheridge, Laura Joplin and Narrator Chan Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power)
These interviews are key, so kudos to PBS on that I suppose. Make sure you see the version with them (I can’t imagine the film without). I haven’t checked, but I would guess that if you watch it via PBS VOD, there should be a good chance of escaping the aforementioned censorship. 9/10