Georgia, Georgia (1972)

R | 91-92 mins | Drama | March 1972

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HISTORY

The working title of the film was Georgia. In the opening credits, the two words of the title flash individually onscreen, with the credit for Diana Sands appearing between the two flashing title words. Credits for the actors who portray the Vietnam deserters show the characters’ name, followed by the word “Defector” in parentheses.
       During a dramatized interview sequence at the beginning of the film, “Georgia Martin” is asked about African-American soul icon, Aretha Franklin, about whom she claims to know little, thus revealing her lack of interest in her own heritage. One sequence showing “Georgia” being haunted, partly in dreams during a sleepless night, begins with her looking at herself in a mirror. In a voice-over soliloquy that is intercut with her on-camera dialogue, she tells a story about a woman whose soul is taken away by others. Although she begins the story by narrating in the third person, she occasionally slips into first person. The sequence, which ends with her again looking at herself in the mirror, shows her standing by a riverside in a beautiful dress. As the story ends, she says she is only “safe” with “a misfit and a mammy.” A photographic montage used to illustrate the growing romance between “Michael” and Georgia, depicts Michael photographing Georgia in a field. Then a series of photographs he has taken of her are superimposed over moving shots of the photo session. Some of the photographs show her without her wig. The wig, which she removed for their love-making scene, was used throughout the film to differentiate Georgia’s public persona from her private self.
       As noted in reviews and ...

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The working title of the film was Georgia. In the opening credits, the two words of the title flash individually onscreen, with the credit for Diana Sands appearing between the two flashing title words. Credits for the actors who portray the Vietnam deserters show the characters’ name, followed by the word “Defector” in parentheses.
       During a dramatized interview sequence at the beginning of the film, “Georgia Martin” is asked about African-American soul icon, Aretha Franklin, about whom she claims to know little, thus revealing her lack of interest in her own heritage. One sequence showing “Georgia” being haunted, partly in dreams during a sleepless night, begins with her looking at herself in a mirror. In a voice-over soliloquy that is intercut with her on-camera dialogue, she tells a story about a woman whose soul is taken away by others. Although she begins the story by narrating in the third person, she occasionally slips into first person. The sequence, which ends with her again looking at herself in the mirror, shows her standing by a riverside in a beautiful dress. As the story ends, she says she is only “safe” with “a misfit and a mammy.” A photographic montage used to illustrate the growing romance between “Michael” and Georgia, depicts Michael photographing Georgia in a field. Then a series of photographs he has taken of her are superimposed over moving shots of the photo session. Some of the photographs show her without her wig. The wig, which she removed for their love-making scene, was used throughout the film to differentiate Georgia’s public persona from her private self.
       As noted in reviews and news items, the film was shot on location in Stockholm, Sweden. According to the LAT review, some American soldiers who had deserted during the Vietnam War played themselves in the film. While some reviews identify “Michael Winters” as a veteran, others describe him as a deserter, and within the film it is not clear whether he completed his tour of duty or deserted.
       Reviewers noted that Georgia, Georgia marked the first film in a partnership between Jack Jordan, an African-American producer, and white producer Quentin Kelly. The film was the first screenwriting effort of Maya Angelou, who was also an actress and directed the 1998 film Down in the Delta, but is best known as a prominent American poet. Although some sources state that Georgia, Georgia had the first original screenplay written by a black woman, there had been others dating back to the 1930s.
       Georgia, Georgia also marked the feature film debut of actor Dirk Benedict, who went on to portray "Lt. Starbuck" in the 1978 television series Battlestar Galactica. Modern sources add Vibeke Løkkeberg to the cast. The New York world premiere on 10 Mar 1972 benefited sickle cell anemia prevention. In an editorial about the film, LAT critic Charles Champlin noted that Georgia Georgia had "disappeared from local screens pretty quickly," despite what he deemed its excellence and ability to rise above stereotype.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
CREDIT
HISTORY CREDITS
CREDIT TYPE
CREDIT
General (mod):
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Apr 1972
---
Daily Variety
6 Mar 1972
p. 1, 23
Filmfacts
1972
pp. 138-40
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 1971
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
6 Apr 1972
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Apr 1972
p. 1, 17
Los Angeles Times
5 May 1972
---
Motion Picture Herald
Apr 1972
---
New York Times
11 Mar 1972
p. 11
New York Times
26 Mar 1972
Section II, p. 13
New York Times
13 Aug 1972
Section II, p. 9
Newsweek
3 Apr 1972
---
Variety
28 Jul 1971
p. 1, 31
Variety
8 Mar 1972
p. 24
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Jack Jordan & Quentin Kelly Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst photog
Super-18 tech consultant
FILM EDITORS
Ed consultant
COSTUMES
Miss Diana Sands Jewels by
MUSIC
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Asst to the prod
Bob Anderson
Crew
Laboratory
Laboratory
Laboratory
Laboratory
SOURCES
SONGS
"Bird of Paradise" and "I Can Call Down Rain," words and music by Maya Angelou, sung by Diana Sands; "This Little Light of Mine," traditional spiritual.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Georgia
Release Date:
March 1972
Premiere Information:
World premiere in New York: 10 Mar 1972
Production Date:
mid Jun--late Jul 1971 in Stockholm, Sweden
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Jorkel, Inc.
10 March 1972
LP40863
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
91-92
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Sweden, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

African-American singer Georgia Martin arrives in Stockholm as part of a concert tour, accompanied by her manager, Herbert Thompson, and her personal assistant and surrogate mother, Alberta Anderson, a widowed black woman. As Georgia is the most popular American singer in Europe, several reporters meet her at the airport to ask her opinions, which she flirtatiously provides, on current issues, such as mixed marriages, Vietnam and American defectors in Sweden. However, when they ask questions about black ethnicity, Georgia becomes agitated and has Herbert end the interview. Herbert then introduces her to American photographer Michael Winters, a young, white Vietnam veteran who has been assigned to do a picture story on Georgia for Scandia magazine. Later, while traveling to the hotel, Georgia and Herbert joke about the reporters, who erroneously presume she is interested in black causes, and offend the humorless Alberta, a bigot who feels her companions are slighting their own race. After checking into the hotel, where a homosexual desk clerk makes overtures toward Herbert, Georgia spots a vase of roses in her room and throws them to the floor, demanding that they be removed. When Georgia’s anger subsides, she removes her wig, after which Alberta offers to brush her hair, a ritual that they do to comfort Georgia. As if a child, the weary Georgia sits on the floor next to Alberta, who gently brushes her hair, as they quietly sing the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” Meanwhile, Bobo, an angry black man, demands that the hotel clerk tell him Georgia’s room number and, when refused, curses the ...

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African-American singer Georgia Martin arrives in Stockholm as part of a concert tour, accompanied by her manager, Herbert Thompson, and her personal assistant and surrogate mother, Alberta Anderson, a widowed black woman. As Georgia is the most popular American singer in Europe, several reporters meet her at the airport to ask her opinions, which she flirtatiously provides, on current issues, such as mixed marriages, Vietnam and American defectors in Sweden. However, when they ask questions about black ethnicity, Georgia becomes agitated and has Herbert end the interview. Herbert then introduces her to American photographer Michael Winters, a young, white Vietnam veteran who has been assigned to do a picture story on Georgia for Scandia magazine. Later, while traveling to the hotel, Georgia and Herbert joke about the reporters, who erroneously presume she is interested in black causes, and offend the humorless Alberta, a bigot who feels her companions are slighting their own race. After checking into the hotel, where a homosexual desk clerk makes overtures toward Herbert, Georgia spots a vase of roses in her room and throws them to the floor, demanding that they be removed. When Georgia’s anger subsides, she removes her wig, after which Alberta offers to brush her hair, a ritual that they do to comfort Georgia. As if a child, the weary Georgia sits on the floor next to Alberta, who gently brushes her hair, as they quietly sing the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” Meanwhile, Bobo, an angry black man, demands that the hotel clerk tell him Georgia’s room number and, when refused, curses the clerk, then pounds on hotel room doors in an unsuccessful search for her. Later, Georgia phones Herbert, interrupting his tryst with the clerk, who comments that his relationship with Georgia is like a marriage. When the clerk ventures to say that Georgia “does not act like a negro,” the offended Herbert sends him away. Meanwhile, sensing that Michael has made an impression on Georgia, Alberta, who believes in the separation of the races, warns her to be careful around white men who “think” they understand blacks. When a flippant remark by Herbert agitates Alberta, Georgia feels compelled to calm the tension between them. At a nearby diner, Bobo meets with other black men, who, like him, are Vietnam deserters. When Michael enters, Bobo asks him to arrange an introduction to Georgia, whom he wants to publicize and raise funds for black deserters in Sweden. Michael refuses, because he feels it is unethical to use his professional relationship with a client for anything other than the agreed-upon purposes. This enrages Bobo, who instigates a fight but is stopped by his friends. When Michael arrives for the photoshoot, Herbert insists on attending and meddling. Ambushing them on the street, Bobo aggressively forces an introduction, but Georgia orders Herbert to keep him away. Later, Michael photographs Georgia in various locations around the city and piques her interest in him, but when he offers her a red flower from a market stall, she becomes upset, claiming that she gets hay fever, and soon after throws another tantrum. Jealous of the chemistry that, despite Georgia’s moodiness, is building between her and Michael, Herbert privately tells Michael that Georgia does not like to be touched. Meanwhile, Bobo approaches Alberta and manipulates her maternal feelings and loyalty to black causes. When Bobo explains what he wants from Georgia, Alberta confides that Georgia is estranged from her heritage, but says she will attempt to change her mind. That night, when the weary Georgia complains about the pressure of people “wanting things” from her, Alberta suggests introducing her to a “handsome young man from home.” Skeptical, Georgia takes off her wig and they begin their hair brushing ritual, but are interrupted by Bobo’s unexpected knock on the door. When Alberta answers, she tells him the timing is not right. During the evening Michael has a date with a young woman, but despite her desire to have sex, he puts her in a taxi and goes home alone. That evening, when Herbert suggests that Georgia sing a blues song at her upcoming performance, she sarcastically suggests that she call herself “mammy.” Offended, Alberta pointedly tells her that a black woman never turns her back on her responsibilities. Although Georgia calms the tension, she does it at the expense of her own peace of mind and, that night, is haunted by thoughts of people taking her soul. At the next photoshoot, Michael and Georgia sneak away from Herbert. Although she is warming to Michael, he says cryptically that he does not want her to be disappointed. Meanwhile, still scheming, Bobo invites Alberta to meet the other black deserters at the diner, and she is moved by their tales of homesickness. Claiming they could have been her children, Alberta alludes to her husband, who was castrated by white supremacists before they married. Later, when Michael returns Georgia to the hotel, she declares that it was the best day she has had in a long time. After Georgia’s concert that evening, Herbert and Alberta flatter and cater to her needs, but when Alberta tries to introduce Bobo, Georgia throws a tantrum, and her bad spirits last throughout the evening. At their next photoshoot, Georgia asks how to use a camera, and Michael takes her to his apartment to retrieve an old Brownie camera for her to use. There he confides that it was his family’s black employee who reared him after his father died and his mother married a wealthy alcoholic who made them miserable. Bristling, Georgia asks if the black woman was “a mammy,” but then apologizes. Although they are sexually attracted to each other, Georgia senses Michael’s reluctance, and he confides that he has been impotent since his war experiences. However, at her urging, he finds that he is able to consummate his passion for her and she loses her sense of isolation and insecurity. As they make love, Bobo, who arranged for them to be followed, informs Alberta of their activities. Although Michael is not Georgia’s first white lover, Alberta claims that this time Georgia “has shamed the entire race.” When Georgia returns to the hotel, planning to reunite shortly with Michael, Herbert tells her that he loves her in his own way and has made himself into what she needs. Later, as Georgia tries to explain her feelings about Michael to Alberta, the older woman offers to brush her hair, then strangles her. No longer suppressing her rage, Alberta roughly brushes Georgia’s hair, while loudly singing their special song, "This Little Light of Mine."

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

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