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misswonderly3

Spotlight: The Black Experience in Film

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Something about A Raisin in the Sun always bugged me...

Lena says that she and Walter Sr. moved into their apartment as young marrieds. Now that Walter Sr. is recently deceased, Beneatha sleeps in the bedroom with her mother, but where did she sleep prior to her father's death? There are two bedrooms and a sofa in the living. The other bedroom belongs to Walter Jr. and Ruth, and Travis sleeps on the sofa.

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6 hours ago, bundie said:

Something about A Raisin in the Sun always bugged me...

Lena says that she and Walter Sr. moved into their apartment as young marrieds. Now that Walter Sr. is recently deceased, Beneatha sleeps in the bedroom with her mother, but where did she sleep prior to her father's death? There are two bedrooms and a sofa in the living. The other bedroom belongs to Walter Jr. and Ruth, and Travis sleeps on the sofa.

BLU

It's possible that Travis shared the bedroom with his parents. In that case, Beneatha could have used the sofa.

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Yes, that is what I've concluded after many viewings.  Beneatha had the couch and Travis was in the parents' room, perhaps on the floor or some type of cot.  After Walter's death, he inherited the couch.  I figured that is why Ruth became pregnant again, since they now had the room to themselves.

It isn't clear exactly how long ago Walter died, and maybe processing an insurance check back then took a longer time?

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This great American play came to back on Broadway with Denzel Washington (Walter Lee Younger),LaTanya Richardson Jackson (Lena Younger),Sophie Okonedo (Ruth Younger)and Anika Noni Rose (Beneatha Younger.) 

I saw it a few years ago and was knocked out by the performances and still engrossing family drama. Jackson was particularly powerful in the role of the family matriarch. I heard Diahann Carroll was originally cast but dropped out,maybe for the best,she is a good actress but doesn't have the power and strengthn needed. Washington was great too,as expected,hopefully it will make everyone forget Sean Puffy Combs from a few years back,(no I am not kidding,he produced the play a few years ago so he cast himself). 

It got me thinking of the movie,which I have seen many times and loved it. Sidney Poitier has one of his greatest performances in a rare chance to play a character who is not always nice or likable. Claudia McNeil is a tower of strength as Lena, often dominating many scenes,it's a shame she never got more great film roles. And Diana Sands is a scene stealing delight as the out spoken Beneatha. McNeil and Sands have one of the most powerful scenes together, the one where Beneatha says she does not believe in God and Lena gives her a resounding slap in the face and sternly says "Repeat after me,in my mother's house there is still God!". A stirring scene on stage as well,causing some surprised gasps in the audience. 

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I recall reading at the time that Ms. Carroll was having problems remembering her lines and had to be replaced.  Can't quite envision her in the role.

While I didn't see the revival you discuss, I saw the three women on a talk show (Theater Talk?).....They discussed that the slap was quite real and couldn't be faked onstage.  Wish I had seen it.

I have a VHS tape of the Esther Rolle and Danny Glover version:  both of them are quite powerful.

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I was discussing this thread yesterday & all the posts of how loved A RAISIN IN THE SUN is here. It was pointed out that like FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at it's base, it's a story about a family and the race/culture/ethnicity can be ANY race/culture/ethnicity, hence it's universal appeal.

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On 9/6/2018 at 4:39 AM, TikiSoo said:

Uh, well my family is racially & culturally mixed. In no way would I assume anyone, no matter what "community" they feel they belong to, have the same outlook or experience.

 

I focus on the word community. People in the blind community are in the same boat. Sighted ones think they are the same. I once told a blind friend a particular sidewalk and street were not safe. He told me not to tell him what to do. We talked it out more. Turns out you gotta do what you gotta do. I am sight impaired, which gives me no credentials in the blind community. I can talk about what I know about.

TCM needs to get the rights to and show, "If You Could See What I Hear." I won't spoil anything. I've only seen the movie once. A blind friend played it for me, with no warnings. It gets heavy. Has cute moments too. Sadly, not on DVD. Looks like someone has it on YouTube. I haven't yet looked at it for quality. I saw it on VHS tape.

CBS has a new show this fall called The Neighborhood. A white family moves into a black neighborhood. It is suppose to be a comedy. Call me a stick in the mud, but how can it not increase tensions already in place?

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Did any watch Ann Lucasta last week? I was blown away by the performance of Eartha Kitt! She is stunning. Tonight I watched Claudine for the first time in like 20 years, I forgot how raw that movie is. Glad to see these movies being played instead of languishing somewhere and forgotten. 

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Losing Ground was really good and I think it's the second time it's been on TCM.  So original and the ending left me wondering what happened to the characters.  Excellent performances.  I loved Duane Jones (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) in his cape and hat.  It's a gem of a film that's deservedly being rediscovered. This is great but bittersweet because the screenwriter/director passed away a couple of years later.

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3 hours ago, ChristineHoard said:

Losing Ground was really good and I think it's the second time it's been on TCM.  So original and the ending left me wondering what happened to the characters.  Excellent performances.  I loved Duane Jones (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) in his cape and hat.  It's a gem of a film that's deservedly being rediscovered. This is great but bittersweet because the screenwriter/director passed away a couple of years later.

I believe it's been shown a couple of other times on TCM. In October 2015, it was one of the films included in the TCM Spotlight series "Trailblazing Women."

The 1982 drama was created by the independent filmmaker Kathleen Collins (1942-1988), whose 1980 effort "The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy" was the first feature directed by a black woman. 

 

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On 9/5/2018 at 9:49 AM, cigarjoe said:

I would have added:

Sweet Love Bitter (1967) A Jazz Noir, based on the novel Night Song by John Alfred Williams. The story is inspired by the life of jazz musician Charlie Parker.

Bird (1988) another about life and career of the jazz musician, Charlie "Bird" Parker.

And what about a "Strong Black Men" category 

Shaft (1971) Neo Noir Detective film directed by Gordon Parks?

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971) directed by Melvin Van Peebles?

I would think a film like  Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) would fit perfectly on TCM

All of this just means TCM should do this again 🙂

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On 9/5/2018 at 12:49 PM, cigarjoe said:

I would have added:

Sweet Love Bitter (1967) A Jazz Noir, based on the novel Night Song by John Alfred Williams. The story is inspired by the life of jazz musician Charlie Parker.

Bird (1988) another about life and career of the jazz musician, Charlie "Bird" Parker.

Truly, as for the case of "Sweet Love, Bitter", it could have been inspired by at least a DOZEN different jazz musicians during Bird's time.  But "inspired" isn't the same as "about" the life of Charlie Parker.  ;)

But, BIRD, excellently directed by CLINT EASTWOOD  and also portrayed excellently by FOREST WHITAKER is a compelling portrait of what was a most compelling musician and individual.  And on the subject of movies about black musicians,.....

What about ROUND MIDNIGHT ('86) starring tenor sax genius DEXTER GORDON, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance of an amalgam of LESTER YOUNG and BUD POWELL, both Black American jazz expatriates that lived in Paris during the early '50's, as many black American jazz musicians were during that period.  It too, has many cameos by then current jazz giants as backing musicians.  

Sepiatone

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2 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Truly, as for the case of "Sweet Love, Bitter", it could have been inspired by at least a DOZEN different jazz musicians during Bird's time.  But "inspired" isn't the same as "about" the life of Charlie Parker.  ;)

But, BIRD, excellently directed by CLINT EASTWOOD  and also portrayed excellently by FOREST WHITAKER is a compelling portrait of what was a most compelling musician and individual.  And on the subject of movies about black musicians,.....

What about ROUND MIDNIGHT ('86) starring tenor sax genius DEXTER GORDON, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance of an amalgam of LESTER YOUNG and BUD POWELL, both Black American jazz expatriates that lived in Paris during the early '50's, as many black American jazz musicians were during that period.  It too, has many cameos by then current jazz giants as backing musicians.  

Sepiatone

Another good one is Superfly  directed by Gordon Parks Jr. about a drug pusher trying to get out of the business, its actually a bit more stylish than his father's Shaft.

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

Truly, as for the case of "Sweet Love, Bitter", it could have been inspired by at least a DOZEN different jazz musicians during Bird's time.  But "inspired" isn't the same as "about" the life of Charlie Parker.  ;)

But, BIRD, excellently directed by CLINT EASTWOOD  and also portrayed excellently by FOREST WHITAKER is a compelling portrait of what was a most compelling musician and individual.  And on the subject of movies about black musicians,.....

What about ROUND MIDNIGHT ('86) starring tenor sax genius DEXTER GORDON, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance of an amalgam of LESTER YOUNG and BUD POWELL, both Black American jazz expatriates that lived in Paris during the early '50's, as many black American jazz musicians were during that period.  It too, has many cameos by then current jazz giants as backing musicians.  

Sepiatone

I loved Bird. I didn’t see it until a couple of years ago but Whitaker was fabulous. Easily one of Eastwood’s better efforts and criminally underrated.

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36 minutes ago, HelenBaby2 said:

I loved Bird. I didn’t see it until a couple of years ago but Whitaker was fabulous. Easily one of Eastwood’s better efforts and criminally underrated.

What impressed me was the performance of Diane Venora, who played Charlie Parker's long-suffering wife Chan. For her efforts, Venora received a 1988 Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. Unfortunately, she didn't receive an Academy Award nomination.

Image result for diane venora bird

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3 hours ago, HelenBaby2 said:

I loved Bird. I didn’t see it until a couple of years ago but Whitaker was fabulous. Easily one of Eastwood’s better efforts and criminally underrated.

Same here.   The film is well known in the jazz musician circles.    

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4 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Truly, as for the case of "Sweet Love, Bitter", it could have been inspired by at least a DOZEN different jazz musicians during Bird's time.  But "inspired" isn't the same as "about" the life of Charlie Parker.  ;)

But, BIRD, excellently directed by CLINT EASTWOOD  and also portrayed excellently by FOREST WHITAKER is a compelling portrait of what was a most compelling musician and individual.  And on the subject of movies about black musicians,.....

What about ROUND MIDNIGHT ('86) starring tenor sax genius DEXTER GORDON, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance of an amalgam of LESTER YOUNG and BUD POWELL, both Black American jazz expatriates that lived in Paris during the early '50's, as many black American jazz musicians were during that period.  It too, has many cameos by then current jazz giants as backing musicians.  

Sepiatone

Yea, both Bird and Round Midnight are fine films about jazz musicians.    Gordon is the sax player I listen to the most.

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2 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Yea, both Bird and Round Midnight are fine films about jazz musicians.    Gordon is the sax player I listen to the most.

 Mal Waldron does the music on Sweet Love, Bitter. Check it out if you haven't yet.

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17 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

 Mal Waldron does the music on Sweet Love, Bitter. Check it out if you haven't yet.

Thanks for the tip.   I haven't seen this film but it is on my bucket list.    

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So, as long as we're mentioning movies either based on, or about black jazz musicians, let's mention 

MILES AHEAD( 2015).   About a period of trumpet master MILES DAVIS' life, directed by and starring DON CHEADLE.

Don does great in both roles.  ;)

Sepiatone

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