Sam Pollard’s documentary, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me is the first major documentary to spotlight the life of the late Rat Pack member.
The documentary features interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, among others, including Nixon staffers such as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. We are treated to never-before seen photos as well as numerous clips from Davis’ career.
For someone such as Davis, it’s beyond crazy to think that there’s yet to be a documentary on the iconic figure who blazed through intersections long before intersectionality was even considered to be a thing. Davis was a person of color, Puerto Ricon, Jewish, married to a white woman, and a Nixon supporter. Even has he yearned for the American Dream, he still had to deal with the prejudice that came his way.
Without a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities, it’s possible that we’d still be waiting for a documentary.
Produced by American Masters Pictures and screening under the Documentary and Black Perspectives categories of the Chicago International Film Festival, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me will screen on Monday, October 16, at 8:15 PM. An encore screening will take place on Friday, October 20, at 5:30 PM.