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In the Shadow of the Stars

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Winner of the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature and lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle as "wonderfully funny yet equally heart-rending," IN THE SHADOW OF THE STARS is a hilarious and affectionate look at the path to stardom inside the competitive world of opera. Filmmakers Allie Light and Irving Saraf relegate the divas to the background and focus on a limelight-craving group of "choristers" -- the seldom-noticed singers who stand behind the soloists portraying peasants, soldiers and slaves.

Product Details

  • Actors: William S. Jones
  • Directors: Allie Light, Irving Saraf
  • Producers: Allie Light, Irving Saraf, Lynn O'Donnell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: August 30, 2005
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009U6XCU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,973 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "In the Shadow of the Stars" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
What a heartwarming, lovely documentary!

While there's a similarity to Waiting for Guffman, this differs in that it is real, and that the people featured are amazingly talented and well-spoken. And even if they are not "stars," most of them seem to have worked harder pursuing their dream of making music than I can even comprehend.

My favorite is the soprano (?) chorister who wistfully says, "I'm playing a peasant, but my costume is silk because it wears well. It's sturdy. We can't get them wet, we're not allowed to sweat in them, because they are silk. But that baritone (principal)...he can wipe his face on __his__ costume and it's ok." But I also like the baritone quoting Anna Russell. And the trucker trying to learn "Madamina" while on the road. (Listening to his voice lesson is exasperating. He sounds great to my untutored ear, but his teacher, paid to be a perfectionist, only finds faults.) Then there's the baritone who sang some choral piece in Latin for his audition, and laughs while he reflects that they should have let him go right then. He seems the most at peace with his decisions and his life.

It seems to me that this would be a great film for anyone with a dream: baseball, music, whatever. Or even if you don't have a dream. It's still fun.
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By Zoe on November 22, 2006
Format: DVD
This is a great film for everyone in the family. It is a wholesome, warm, sensitive look at the inner workings of the opera. This would make a great gift. I highly recommend this Oscar winner.
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Format: DVD
This is an enchanting, well-photographed film full of humor, wit and compassion. The filmmakers do an excellent job of storytelling as they take the viewer behind the scenes of the opera and tell the tales of the would-be divas. You don't like the opera? Not a problem. This movie can be appreciated by anyone who has ever had a dream unfulfilled but dares to dream on. Bravo!!!
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Format: DVD
I love this film; it was moving and perfectly captured the struggle to hold on to a dream in a highly competitive arena. Where I live people fling out "follow your dreams and success will follow" type thinking. It is magical thinking. Following your dreams in the face of statistically likely failure is what makes these people brave and interesting to watch. We all struggle with steady income vs. a seemingly unreachable dream, especially when we question our own talent, experience and other requirements of success. I tremendously enjoyed the hopefulness and fears of people taking that plunge. It is in many ways a "feel good" movie and a great date night film :).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Loved-loved-LOVED this movie! A friend loaned me his and I had to purchase one for myself. What a fantastic chronicle of the under-appreciated chorus of an opera company. I was absolutely blown away to learn of the incredible backgrounds of these people. I was equally impressed with their knowledge of their beloved art and the dedication they give to it. What an eye-opening experience. I feel truly enlightened and appreciate way more the path in which these incredibly talented people take. If you even just like the opera, you will love this movie! Bravo, everyone!
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Format: DVD
I'm a big fan of doumentaries, especially of this type, that attempt to show personal stories of individuals involved in some artistic endeavor. I just watched Young at Heart, which is an amazingly moving view of senior choristers. Another amazing documentary of this type is Shaksepeare Behind Bars, which shows the making of The Tempest in a men's prison. Both are extraordinary.

So perhaps its unfair to compare this worthy attempt to those. Here we see interviews with several members of the San Francisco opera chorus, interspersed with scenes of the chorus in performance. I'm an opera lover and especially fond of the sound of the chorus, so I enjoyed those parts very much.

Some of the subjects captured my attention more than others; the fellow who escaped the horror of his slum life in the Bronx was especially moving. I was also interested in the plight of the young woman who left the chorus to make her way in Europe, with very little money. The others had more or less interest to me.

I would have liked more resolution of the lives....did the poor girl get work? How did the fellow performing for the first time as a soloist do? We see him approaching the stage door, but the film leaves us there.

I think this will have appeal mostly to opera lovers and singers.

There is an interesting extra feature showing the acceptance speech of the couple who made the film. The man went on for quite a while, leaving the woman no time at all to speak.
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