In the 1960s and 1970s, an R&B vocal duo experienced meteoric fame, acclaimed as one of the greatest live performing acts of the decade, with 10 consecutive top 20 singles. Personal conflicts caused the duo to split and stop speaking to each other, but they eventually tried to reunite and found fame as performers once again. If you’re eagerly anticipating the release of Malcolm D. Lee’s latest film starring Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac, then this sounds a lot like the plot of Soul Men (in theaters this Friday). But If you’re Sam Moore, singer of the insanely popular and influential duo Sam & Dave, then it sounds like a description of your life, which the Soul Men movie has shamelessly ripped off.

According to The Independent, Moore has a whole host of problems with the film, some of them legal, some of them personal. Moore believes that the film infringes on his song, “Soul Man,” which was the duo’s most popular hit. Moore’s lawyer elaborated:

Clearly, the film takes from Sam Moore’s life without getting permission. If you look at the story … if you know anything about Sam & Dave then you could make the reasonable assumption that this is the Sam & Dave story. The filmmakers are exploiting his reputation to make a buck. They are taking his rights to the phrase “soul man.” They’ve abused his trademark in a way that creates the likelihood of confusion.

Moore also objects to what he believes is the film’s portrayal of the duo on film:

The film is sexist, racist, and embarrassing, and that’s not what Sam & Dave were about…It’s so amateurish, so stupid, and I’m surprised that Samuel L Jackson is involved in this. But when you read the script, all you see is vulgarity. Every other word is the ‘N-word’ or ‘M-f’ and it’s just not right. They have bastardised my whole story.

The Weinstein Company denies any wrongdoing, insisting that the film is completely ficitonal. Their lawyer, Bertram Fields, explained:

Months ago, we received Mr. Moore’s claim and told him he had none…As he could readily see from the script we sent him, Soul Men is not, in any part or respect, based on Mr Moore’s life. It tells a different story about different people. If Mr. Moore decides to file a lawsuit, he will lose.

To those interested in reading up on the conflict, check out the Independent article. But also read up on Sam & Dave, and the new Soul Men film and let me know what you think in the comments.

Discuss: Does Moore have a point? Or is he overreacting to a few, broad similarities?

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