A new two-disc Blu-ray edition of Sweet Charity will be released August 20 (delayed from the originally announced date, July 23). The new high-def release of the 1969 film, based on the 1966 Broadway musical and helmed by its stage director-choreographer Bob Fosse, will feature new 4K restorations of two different cuts of the film: the original Roadshow edition, plus a shorter, alternate cut that features a happier ending.
The release, from Kino Lorber, will also include 5.1 surround sound, audio commentary by film historian Kat Ellinger, two vintage behind-the-scenes featurettes, the film's theatrical trailer, and a booklet featuring an essay by Julie Kirgo.
Shirley MacLaine, who had danced in the ensemble of the Fosse-choreographed The Pajama Game on Broadway before becoming a film star, played Charity on film. Reprising their performances from the original Broadway cast are John McMartin as Oscar Lindquist and Suzanne Charny, the featured dancer in "Rich Man's Frug."
The film also features performances from stage vets Chita Rivera and Ben Vereen (both of whom had not appeared in Charity on Broadway, but were in the work's first national tour), Ricardo Montalbán, Paula Kelly, Stubby Kaye, and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Sweet Charity, which enjoyed a 608-performance run on Broadway starring Gwen Verdon, was not initially a success on the big screen, losing money and signaling a dormant period for movie musicals in Hollywood. The film has since become recognized for its capture of some of Fosse's most iconic choreography, including "(Hey,) Big Spender," "Rich Man's Frug," "If They Could See Me Now," "I'm a Brass Band," and "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This." Fosse/Verdon, FX's limited television series exploring the artistic and romantic relationship between Fosse and Verdon, recreated scenes from the film's shooting in the first episode.
The work features a score with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, plus a book by Neil Simon (the film's screenplay was penned by 1776 and Titanic bookwriter Peter Stone). Based on the 1957 Fellini film Nights of Cabiria, it centers on a Times Square dance hall hostess and the ups and downs of her romantic life. Sweet Charity has been revived twice on Broadway—in 1986 starring Debbie Allen and 2005 starring Christina Applegate—and saw a major Off-Broadway revival in 2016 starring Sutton Foster.