When this movie first came out in 1974 I think it probably caused a stir and was maybe even labeled “controversial”. We have the story of Claudine (played by Diahann Carroll) a struggling Harlem mother with 6 children to support; she collects welfare and works under the table on the side as a maid for a wealthy family. She meets a charming garbage man named Roop (James Earl Jones, much younger and thinner then I have ever seen him) who is struggling with his own life trials which makes him slow to respond to her invi…ation of love for a lifetime.
Seeing as this movie was shot in 1974 I was expecting a soft, grainy and muted image but, was surprised to find an image that is sharp and grain free. Colors also fair very well and are only slightly muted and washed out, the clothes from the 70’s still come through in all their garishness (there is a pair of pants that Roop makes that will make you wince with how truly awful they are), good for a chuckle. Contrast is lacking a little and details get lost in the shadows sometimes but, overall this a surprisingly good looking movie.
With a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack the audio on this discs is pretty basic, overall it is decent with intelligible voices and not much else really going on . We do have a great soundtrack by Gladys Night and the Pips and that is about it.
For special features we have a pretty run of the mill Commentary with James Earl Jones, Diahann Carroll, Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, George Tillman Jr. and Dan Pine as well as a couple of extra movie trailers.
In today’s day and age this movie is kind of refreshing, it conveys the struggle of a low income African American family in Harlem without the profanity laced speech. It reminds me a lot of the very good “Barbershop” with multiple stories to really tie things together and convey just how difficult things really can be. We social issues that are just as relevant today as they where then like teenage pregnancy, discrimination, revolution and a system to support low income families that just doesn’t work. I was pleasantly surprised with this movie and recommend that on a slower weak at the video store that you check it out.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary