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  International Film Circuit presents  



Directed by Jerry Zaks

Starring: Alessandro Nivola, Jon Abrahams, Robert Randolph, Keb’ Mo’, David Oyelowo, Chi McBride, Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke, Marika Dominczyk

Produced by Les Alexander, Andrea Baynes, Jonathan Mitchell

2009, 35mm, Color, 92 minutes

::  link to official website  

“In the mid-50s, Leonard and Phil Chess gave me, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Willie Dixon and others the opportunity to develop a sound and musical style that changed the world! Who Do You Love explores what we laid down on South Michigan Street in Chicago back then, how the development of a record empire and a musical sound are forever linked, and dares to show both the light and dark sides of the business, and the shadows in between. Robert Randolph's portrayal of me is out-a-sight! So hot, it's smokin'!” Bo Diddley


From four-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Zaks (Marvin’s Room) comes Who Do You Love, an intimate portrayal of how Phil and Leonard Chess built the legendary music label Chess Records. Chess launched some of the best loved names in Blues and Rock & Roll, and the film features authentic musical performances and a score steeped in hits from the Chess Records canon including Muddy Waters’ Stuff You Gotta Watch, Etta James’ At Last, and Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love.

Leonard Chess, a Polish Jewish immigrant living in Chicago, becomes enamored with the new blues sound emanating from that city in the mid-1940s. He and his brother Phil open a club called Macomba and gamble on producing “race records” with the help of bass player and songwriter Willie Dixon. After initial failure, they find tremendous success with the iconic bluesman Muddy Waters, and on the strength of his popularity, started Chess Records. Chess Records quickly grew into an influential label, launching the careers of Waters, Bo Diddley, Etta James, and Chuck Berry, among others, and introducing the Blues to American audiences on a broad scale. Who Do You Love tracks the growth of Chess Records, but more importantly, presents an intimate look into the strains the label placed on Leonard Chess’ family, namely his wife Revetta and his son Marshall.

The film stars Alessandro Nivola (Coco Before Chanel, Junebug, Laurel Canyon) as Leonard Chess, Jon Abrahams (Meet The Parents) as Phil Chess, acclaimed musicians Robert Randolph (as Bo Diddley), Keb’ Mo’, Raheem DeVaughn and Ryan Shaw, David Oyelowo (Last King Of Scotland) as Muddy Waters, Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies, Boston Legal), Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke as Ivy Mills, and Marika Dominczyk as Revetta Chess.

Who Do You Love is a great snapshot of the era in which the music that was to become the foundation of Rock & Roll was created. The music, the cars, the clothes, and the many amazing characters of my childhood are brought to life in this film, which also gives a taste of the many roads travelled by my family to make Chess Records one of the greatest record labels of all time.” – Marshall Chess


Elevated by the fantastic music and Nivola’s charismatic, commanding performance. A personable, downright irresistible endeavor that’s sure to leave viewers humming its various ditties long after the credits have rolled.”
– David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

A charismatic lead performance and a seductive soundtrack. Director Jerry Zaks brings a warm, zingy ensemble energy to these scenes, which are lubricated by the winningly off-handed comic delivery of McBride. The technical and musical values are solid, including a sultry cover of At Last from Echikunwoke... which echoes the sigh of recognition this slick and diverting film delivers to Chess and his legendary protégés.”
- Jan Stuart, Screen International


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