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Once More With Feeling – Chicago Screening Of “Claudine” On November 4th and 8th

Once More With Feeling - Chicago Screening Of “Claudine” On November 4th and 8th

Back in early August I posted an item saying that the film Claudine would get a rare theatrical screening in Chicago. Since that was a few months ago, and the screenings are taking place next week, I thought I would remind people about the screenings and repost what I said so here goes:

It’s not common to have public screenings of black films from the 70’s, but I think it’s important when it does happen, and one is coming up very soon – at least for those living in the Chicagoland area. Besides, there’s a HUGE difference between seeing a film on your TV or computer or iPad or what have you, and seeing it on the big screen.

So on Friday November 4 and Tuesday Nov. 8 the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, as part of its Design for Living: Apartment Genre Films fall film series, will be screening the 1974 romantic comedy/drama Claudine, with Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones.

If you love the film and haven’t seen it in years, or have never heard of it, you really ought to check out it. It’s a wonderful film, both gritty and charming at the same time, about a single working Harlem mother (Carroll) with a bunch of kids, and her romance with a happy-go-lucky, committment-phobic garbage man (Jones). It is a film filled with highly comic and intensely dramatic moments, as you can see in the clip below.

There was drama behind the scenes as well too. Originally Diana Sands was slated to play the part, but got too ill and was forced to drop out. (She died shortly afterward) But she asked Carroll, who was a close friend of hers, to do the part in her place. Carroll eventually was chosen to replace Sands, after some hesitation by the director.

However, a lot of people loudly voiced their displeasure over the casting of Carroll. Believe it or not, they felt she was too “pretty”, too “bougie” and basically not “black” enough to play a Harlem single mother; evidently not even knowing that Carroll herself was born in New York and raised in Harlem.

She silenced all the naysayers when people saw her performance in the film, and she also got an Oscar nomination for Best Actress as well.

So if you’re in the area, check it out and see yet another example of a film they just don’t know how to make anymore.

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I watched Claudine for the umpteenth time a few months ago-still can’t get over Ms. Carroll’s amazing performance. Her quiet elegance, humor and beauty added another dimension to what could have been a flat character. She and Mr. Jones had such great chemistry, and the writing was complex also. There were so many wonderful films from the 70’s, I would love to see this on the big screen.


For once, I’m jealous of those who live outside of NYC–lol. Claudine on big screen–would absolutely love that. Here’s a related piece of info I came across yesterday: Our Stories film (Tracey Edmonds) has Claudine of her slate of films in development… I can’t touch this one, thoughts?


Love this movie! I’ve assigned it for my students to view this week, along with Norma Rae, as a way to discuss how Hollywood represents class on screen. One of my favorites! Even with all the gratuitous shots of James Earl Jone’s nudity…



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