Claudine (1974)

PG | 92 mins | Comedy-drama | 1974

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HISTORY

End credits contain a "Special Thanks" to the following organizations: Buddah Records; General Camera; General Stage 19; Movielab; Magno Sound, and Preview Theatre.
       As noted in various contemporary sources, including DV on 2 Aug 1973 and Box on 3 Sep 1973, Claudine was the first film produced by Third World Cinema. A Jun 1972 issue of Black World announced that Third World Cinema Corp. had negotiated a distribution deal with Twentieth Century-Fox. NYT , in its 23 Apr 1974 review, and LAT on 15 Sep 1973, reported that Third World Cinema was created by actors Diana Sands, Ossie Davis, James Earl Jones, Rita Moreno and producer Hannah Weinstein to provide minorities with substantial, less stereotypical roles in theatrical films. On 23 Aug 1973, a Jet news item reported that the company was started in 1971 by Ossie Davis to “train Black film technicians” and that its first film, Claudine , starring Diana Sands and James Earl Jones, hired twenty-three of its thirty-four member technical crew from the black community. Jet noted that this figure represented the largest number of black people employed by a “major” feature film to date.
       According to LAT , Third World Cinema also won a $400,000 grant from New York City's Manpower and Career Development Agency to establish an internship program that paid $80 a week for job training on set. Apprentices were able to satisfy union membership requirements by working with professionals, insuring the possibility of work on future productions, and many of the program's graduates found jobs on ... More Less

End credits contain a "Special Thanks" to the following organizations: Buddah Records; General Camera; General Stage 19; Movielab; Magno Sound, and Preview Theatre.
       As noted in various contemporary sources, including DV on 2 Aug 1973 and Box on 3 Sep 1973, Claudine was the first film produced by Third World Cinema. A Jun 1972 issue of Black World announced that Third World Cinema Corp. had negotiated a distribution deal with Twentieth Century-Fox. NYT , in its 23 Apr 1974 review, and LAT on 15 Sep 1973, reported that Third World Cinema was created by actors Diana Sands, Ossie Davis, James Earl Jones, Rita Moreno and producer Hannah Weinstein to provide minorities with substantial, less stereotypical roles in theatrical films. On 23 Aug 1973, a Jet news item reported that the company was started in 1971 by Ossie Davis to “train Black film technicians” and that its first film, Claudine , starring Diana Sands and James Earl Jones, hired twenty-three of its thirty-four member technical crew from the black community. Jet noted that this figure represented the largest number of black people employed by a “major” feature film to date.
       According to LAT , Third World Cinema also won a $400,000 grant from New York City's Manpower and Career Development Agency to establish an internship program that paid $80 a week for job training on set. Apprentices were able to satisfy union membership requirements by working with professionals, insuring the possibility of work on future productions, and many of the program's graduates found jobs on Claudine .
       As stated in Jet , Claudine was shot on location in Harlem, New York and on 23 Oct 1973, DV noted that principal photography had recently been completed in New York City.
       On 4 Oct 1973, Jet reported that Sands collapsed on set and was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Sands was given one month to live due to the severity of her disease and was replaced by Diahann Carroll. Jet stated that Ossie Davis was directing the film, but he is not credited onscreen.
       Third World Cinema Productions, Inc. produced only one other film, Greased Lightning (1977, see entry).
       As discussed in various contemporary sources, including NYT and the Var review on 10 Apr 1974, director John Berry marked his return to theatrical filmmaking in America with Claudine . Berry's participation in a 1950 documentary short, The Hollywood Ten , about the group of alleged Communist filmmakers who were imprisoned because of their refusal to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), resulted in his inclusion on a Hollywood studio blacklist. Unable to work in the United States, Berry fled to France and continued to direct films. He also directed stage productions in London, where he worked with Hannah Weinstein.
       The film was produced in association with Joyce Selznick and co-writer Tina Pine. Selznick, niece to producer David O. Selznick, was best known as a casting director. Selznick told DV on 15 Apr 1974 that she became involved with the film in 1970, when her friends, writers Tina and Lester Pine, pitched the story of a white woman dying of cancer who is seeking homes for her six fatherless children. According to Selznick, Diana Sands committed her talent to the project when the story was changed to a black woman dealing with welfare issues, but the picture was turned down by numerous studios, including Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros. and Cinemobile. She contended that Twentieth Century-Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer showed interest in the project but were concerned about producing a “soft” black film. Claudine was picked up for distribution by Cinema Center Films, but the deal fell through when its parent company, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) decided against financing feature films. When Selznick ultimately negotiated with Third World Cinema, she and Pine agreed to let Weinstein produce. The film was made for $1.1 million.
       According to LAT on 8 Jun 1974, the film had risen to fifth place on the weekly list of top-grossing films in Var , just four weeks after hitting the chart.
Although Selznick and Pine were given “in association with” credits, the article reported that their participation in the production of the film was contested by its filmmakers. Weinstein told LAT that despite Selznick and Pine's claims, they had nothing to do with producing Claudine . Due to the success of Claudine , however, Selznick and Pine were contracted by Paramount Pictures to develop three new films, as well as a television sequel to Claudine that could be used as a series pilot.
       As reported in DV on 12 Dec 1974, Weinstein promoted the film for Academy Award consideration by screening it for a week, 20 Dec 1974 through 26 Dec 1974, on the cable television station Z Channel. DV noted that this was a “new approach” to Academy Award promotions and that Weinstein predicted that cable television would become “the great equalizer in future Oscar balloting.” Actress Diahann Carroll was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Actress category.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Black World
Jun 1972
p. 91.
Box Office
3 Sep 1973.
---
Box Office
22 Apr 1974
p. 4682.
Daily Variety
15 Apr 1974
p. 5.
Daily Variety
2 Aug 1973.
---
Daily Variety
23 Oct 1973.
---
Daily Variety
5 Apr 1974
p. 3, 18.
Daily Variety
8 May 1974.
---
Daily Variety
12 Dec 1974
p. 1, 15.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 1974
p. 3, 22.
Jet
23 Aug 1973
p. 61.
Jet
4 Oct 1973
p. 92.
LAHExam
16 May 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Sep 1973
p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
12 May 1974
Calendar, p. 26.
Los Angeles Times
8 Jun 1974.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 May 1974
p. 98.
New York Times
8 Jul 1973.
---
New York Times
23 Apr 1974
p. 34.
New York Times
5 May 1974
p. 1, 8.
Newsweek
10 Jun 1974.
---
Time
20 May 1974
pp. 66-68.
Variety
10 Apr 1974
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Presented in association with Joyce Selznick and Tina Pine
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Set dresser
Chief carpenter
Scenic chargeman
Const grip
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Ward supv
Mr. James Earl Jones ward supplied by
MUSIC
Mus score performed by
Mus and lyrics comp and prod by
Mus ed
Mus arr
Mus eng
Mus eng
SOUND
Sd mixer
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr consultant
Prod consultant
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Prod secy
DGA trainee
Third World trainee
Third World trainee
Third World trainee
Third World trainee
DETAILS
Release Date:
1974
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 22 Apr 1974; Los Angeles opening: 17 May 1974
Copyright Claimant:
Third World Cinema Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
24 April 1974
Copyright Number:
LP44061
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Movielab
Lenses/Prints
Prints by Deluxe
Duration(in mins):
92
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
23912
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Walking along a street in Harlem, New York, single mother, Claudine Price, bids farewell to her six children and boards a bus to go to work. She tells her friends that she has been plagued by headaches and insomnia, but they tease that she is really suffering from a lack of sexual intercourse. Arriving at the Winograd home, where she works as a maid, Claudine notices a handsome garbage man, Rupert B. “Roop” Marshall, and goes outside with grapefruit rinds as an excuse to talk to him. When Claudine turns down his request for a date because of her children, Roop assumes she is dependent on public services and reminds her that it is illegal to work while collecting welfare. Roop stands up to Claudine's boss, who has overloaded a trash bin, but as he drives away, Claudine chases after the garbage truck and gives him her address. That evening, Roop arrives at Claudine's apartment to discover she is late coming home and her daughter, Patrice, refuses to let him inside. Some time later, Claudine returns and Roop is bewildered by her large brood of children. While her oldest daughter, Charlene, complains that she is forced to babysit instead of going out with her boyfriend, her oldest son, Charles, appropriates the bathroom and prevents his youngest sister, Lurlene, from relieving herself. When the kids finally quiet down, Roop announces that he is taking their mother out, and although the children disapprove, Claudine gathers a change of clothes and accompanies Roop to his apartment. Claudine falls asleep in the bathtub, so he orders fried chicken instead of taking her out. ... +


Walking along a street in Harlem, New York, single mother, Claudine Price, bids farewell to her six children and boards a bus to go to work. She tells her friends that she has been plagued by headaches and insomnia, but they tease that she is really suffering from a lack of sexual intercourse. Arriving at the Winograd home, where she works as a maid, Claudine notices a handsome garbage man, Rupert B. “Roop” Marshall, and goes outside with grapefruit rinds as an excuse to talk to him. When Claudine turns down his request for a date because of her children, Roop assumes she is dependent on public services and reminds her that it is illegal to work while collecting welfare. Roop stands up to Claudine's boss, who has overloaded a trash bin, but as he drives away, Claudine chases after the garbage truck and gives him her address. That evening, Roop arrives at Claudine's apartment to discover she is late coming home and her daughter, Patrice, refuses to let him inside. Some time later, Claudine returns and Roop is bewildered by her large brood of children. While her oldest daughter, Charlene, complains that she is forced to babysit instead of going out with her boyfriend, her oldest son, Charles, appropriates the bathroom and prevents his youngest sister, Lurlene, from relieving herself. When the kids finally quiet down, Roop announces that he is taking their mother out, and although the children disapprove, Claudine gathers a change of clothes and accompanies Roop to his apartment. Claudine falls asleep in the bathtub, so he orders fried chicken instead of taking her out. After getting off the phone with Patrice and sitting down to dinner, Claudine complains about her problems with welfare. Roop admits that he has three children of his own from two past marriages, but he never sees them. Although Claudine and Roop bicker, Roop contends that they are good for each other and they make love. When he takes Claudine home in the early morning, Roop insists on seeing her again that evening. At breakfast, Claudine's kids interrogate her about the date and worry that she will have more children. Later, when Roop arrives, he buys ice cream for the kids, but Charles refuses and tells Roop there will be consequences if he hurts his mother. At work, Roop's colleague, Owen, cautions him about welfare policies. If they discover Claudine has a man in her life, they will withdraw their services and Roop will have to support the family. Some time later, Claudine receives a visit from the social worker, Miss Kabak, and quickly hides her new appliances to conceal that she has an alternate source of income. Miss Kabak asks Claudine if she has been working, which Claudine denies, then inquires about the new man in her life. Claudine is angry that Miss Kabak is spying on her, but the social worker says that a neighbor reported his visits. Miss Kabak argues that it is her business to know about Roop because she must deduct his gifts from her welfare check. Later, Charlene returns home drunk after sneaking out with her boyfriend in the evening, and yells to Claudine that she has nothing of her own. As Claudine comforts Patrice and Charlene in her bed, they ask if she loves Roop. The next time she and Roop are together, Claudine worries about her son, Paul, because he does not want to continue school. Later, at Claudine's apartment, Roop asks her youngest son, Francis, about his aspirations and the boy tells him that he wants to be invisible. Roop convinces Paul to return to school after beating him in a game of dice with local street thugs. After disappearing for three days, Charles is tracked down at the headquarters of a militant black organization. He tells them that he is ashamed of the family's dependence on welfare. Some time later, Miss Kabak pays Claudine a surprise visit when Roop is at her apartment. After Roop unsuccessfully attempts to hide, Miss Kabak demands to know if he is giving Claudine gifts. Infuriated by the intrusion, Claudine reveals several appliances that he has given her, and Roop angrily questions welfare's intent to help the children. When Miss Kabak claims they would like Claudine and Roop to marry, Roop complains that it would make him financially responsible for the family instead of the government and leaves the apartment in anger. That evening, when Claudine and Roop are in bed together, Claudine tells Roop that she wants more from him. Roop argues that she is tying to put him on welfare, too, but she says that their marriage would make her ineligible for benefits and she assures him he would not have to pay for the family. Despite their fight, Roop vows not to leave. The next day at the welfare office, they learn that Roop's finances will be analyzed if he and Claudine get married and although Claudine may be dropped from the program, the children will still be covered. If Roop loses his job, however, he is compelled by law to apply for welfare because living off the children's benefits would be considered fraud. Irate, Roop and Claudine leave the office, but Roop tells Claudine that the marriage is still on. Just before they announce the wedding to the kids, however, Roop receives a court order that accuses him of the “willful neglect” of his own children. At work, Roop discovers that $60 has been deducted from his paycheck. He tells Owen that he has been paying child support, but the government has suddenly decided it was not enough. Overwhelmed by financial burdens, Roop tells Claudine that he wants to quit his job and leave town. The next day, Claudine's children throw a father's day celebration for Roop, but he does not show and they discover that his phone is disconnected. Paul and Francis ride their bike to Roop's apartment and learn that he has moved out. When Claudine goes to Roop's work, Owen tells her that Roop called in sick. Back at home, Charles tells his mother that he knew all along that Roop would leave and criticizes her for having six children. He says that if she loved him, she would have killed him as an infant, then reports that Charlene is pregnant. Claudine runs inside and beats Charlene with a brush. When Claudine says that black men are unreliable, Charlene tearfully argues that there are examples of great black men in history. Returning home from work the next day, Claudine discovers that Charles has gotten a vasectomy. That night, after finding Roop drunk at a bar, Charles punches him as retribution for making his mother miserable. Some time later, Roop shows up at Claudine's apartment. As the family piles into his car, he tells them he loves them, but he doesn't have enough money to be a father. When Lurlene says that Charles and Charlene are moving out and Francis eats invisible food, they laugh. During the wedding ceremony, Charles clashes with the police at a political rally. When he returns home to fulfill his duties as best man, the police follow him inside and the party turns chaotic. After defending his new son, Roop is arrested. Unwilling to separate from her husband, Claudine follows him into the paddy wagon. As it pulls away, all of her children climb aboard. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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