Zouzou ★★★½

The film follows the life story of a young black woman from her childhood in a circus to adult success in the musical theater.

Zouzou, a black girl, and Jean, a white boy, are displayed as twins in the side show of a circus. As adults Zouzou (Josephine Baker) and Jean (Jean Gabin) still regard themselves as sister and brother. Jean is a seaman, and Zouzou works in a laundry. Zouzou loves to sing and dance for her friends at the laundry but has no thought of a theatrical career. After Jean is arrested for murder, Zouzou needs money for his defense. At a theater, she displays her singing and dancing talents to the impresario who immediately hires her. Her act is a sensation.

Now famous, Zouzou points the police to the actual murderer, and Jean is released. Zouzou, who loves Jean as more than a brother, hopes he feels similarly about her. However, he is in love with a white girl, one of the other laundresses. The disconsolate Zouzouz remains a famous, but sad and lonely, star performer.

The film is a vehicle for Josephine Baker who was famous as a theatrical performer and public personality in France from the mid 1920s until her death in 1975. Although Baker was not primarily an actress, her striking looks and screen presence carry her performance to the audience. Jean Gabin, well known French actor, has a small supporting role.