A repository of Lady Dove's musings on arts, entertainment and culture.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thirty Five Years Later

“Claudine” Revisited

Diahann Carroll was a sexy lithe Little Mama and James Earl Jones was a buffed fine hunk of a Big Daddy when they starred in 1974’s timeless urban romance, “Claudine.” The feel, the verve, the utter magic of this film was captured and preserved not only through the screenplay, but also through the classic music and lyrics for the soundtrack that was conceived and composed by Curtis Mayfield, and performed in stellar fashion by Gladys Knight and the Pips.

In the movie’s top five chart topper, “On and On,” Mayfield, through the keen voices of Gladys Knight and the Pips reminds us we have to “Keep on Movin,’ Keep on Groovin.’ I totally loved revisiting this movie 35 years later. Seeing the fashions of the 70’s: platform shoes, loud prints, tube tops, all stylishly worn to compliment huge Afros’ and do you remember sideburns? Yes, the men looked so manly and sexy with those thick sideburns! An urban romance, where the man was a man, always treated the woman like a lady – opening doors, pouring drinks, buying ice cream for her children, bringing new appliances for the household, and helping Little Mama pay her pay rent and handle those rough boys.

All these years later, with Curtis Mayfield’s strings welling up in the background and Gladys Knight’s sultry contralto vibrating in the foreground, I love hearing the words uttered by “Claudine’s” leading man, Rupert P. Marshall, portrayed by the acting monolith James Earl Jones: “You’ve got to make the best of each day ‘cause when you’re dead life isn’t worth living.” Enough said.

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