- Rated: R
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 2 hours, 9 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: January 30, 2001
- Originally Released: 1990
- Label: Universal Studios
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Snap Case
- Single Side - Dual Layer
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.78
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 1.78
- Dolby Surround - English, French, Spanish
- Additional Release Material:
- Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer
- Text/Photo Galleries:
- Production Notes
- Biographies: Cast and Crew
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Los Angeles Times - 08/03/1990
"...Seductive, engaging....[Lee is] terrific at ambience, at a real feeling for backstage talk..."
Spike Lee ventures into the world of jazz music with this stylish romantic drama. Forced by his mother to study the trumpet, Bleek Gilliam (Denzel Washington) has grown up to become the leader of a successful jazz quintet. Managed by his inept friend, Giant (Lee), Bleek clashes with fellow band member Shadow Henderson (Wesley Snipes). Making matters worse is Bleek's romantic situation: trying to balance two different women at the same time--schoolteacher Indigo Downes (Joie Lee) and aspiring singer Clarke Bentancourt (Cynda Williams). In a hysterical moment, the line is blurred when, while making love, Bleek calls each woman by the other's name. As he struggles to keep the quintet alive and flourishing, he must decide once and for all what it is he really wants: Indigo, Clarke, or his trumpet. The son of jazz musician Bill Lee, who contributes music to the film, Lee has written a script that crackles with witty behind-the-scenes banter that feels natural and fresh. Ernest R. Dickerson's camera moves at an even brisker pace than in other Lee films, which compliments the bouncy soundtrack, making MO' BETTER BLUES an entertaining ride.
Top jazz trumpet player Bleek Gilliam is obsessed by his music but indecisive about his two girlfriends. When his manager and childhood friend gets into trouble because of compulsive gambling, Bleek comes to his aid only to discover that his world is more fragile than he ever imagined. MO' BETTER BLUES is directed by Spike Lee and stars Lee; his sister, Joie; Denzel Washington; Cynda Williams; and Welsey Snipes.
- Theatrical release: August 3, 1990.
- Filmed at the Empire Sound Stages in Long Island City, and in Brooklyn and New York, New York. Filming began September 25, 1989, and completed December 1, 1989.
- Estimated budget: $10-12 million.
- The film screened at the 1990 Venice Film Festival in competition and the Goodwill Film Festival.
- MO' BETTER BLUES was the last screen appearance for the late comedic actor Robin Harris, who also appeared in HOUSE PARTY and in Lee's DO THE RIGHT THING.