Movie Details

Part of The Blues documentary film series on PBS, Warming by the Devil's Fire is written and directed by Charles Burnett and narrated by Carl Lumbly. This installment explores the tension between the gospel and the blues through the semi-autobiographic tale of a young boy (played by Nathaniel Lee Jr.) who is kidnapped by his blues-loving Uncle Buddy (Tommy Hicks) right before he's about to be saved. Burnett investigates some of the blues women who defied the church by singing racy songs, like Lucille Bogan, Mamie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Bessie Smith. Includes archival performances by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Reverend Gary Davis, blues performers who managed to work within the church's jurisdiction. Burnett also discusses his fascination with W.C. Handy and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Warming by the Devil's Fire was originally broadcast by PBS on October 1, 2003. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi