If you’re a certain age (like me), you can sing along with every Dionne Warwick song because you know all the lyrics by heart. In Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over, the lady herself leads a retrospective look back at her career.
Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over features many moments with the music using legacy video of Dionne Warwick in performance in many venues and over time. In addition to taking a look back at her musical career the doc also tells about her work as an AIDS activist and her influence on the musicians that came behind her.
My strongest impression of the film that looks back at music from 50 and 60 years ago is how dignified Dionne Warwick was. She didn’t wear revealing clothes. She didn’t dance suggestively and athletically all over the stage. She simply stood in front of a microphone and sang. The contrast with musical performance today couldn’t be more stark.
Many well known faces appeared in the film to talk about the history shown. Among them were Burt Bacharach, Snoop Dogg, Bill Clinton, Clive Davis, Gloria Estefan, Barry Gibb, Elton John, Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys, Carlos Santana, Stevie Wonder and many more. There was archive footage of Whitney Houston.
The film may not be as objective as some documentaries about well-known people, simply because it was Dionne Warwick’s version of her life and career. Nevertheless, it was an interesting look back at a long and successful life full of groundbreaking firsts and full of lasting impact on music and the world.
I enjoyed the music, not just from Dionne Warwick but others as well, and enjoyed the nostalgia of revisiting so many songs that I have known and loved over the years. The recent loss of Burt Bacharach just made the nostalgia more meaningful.
You can see Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over on HBO Max.