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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by John Berry
USA 1974

 

Diahann Carroll is radiant in an unforgettable, Oscar-nominated performance as Claudine, a strong-willed single mother, raising six kids in Harlem, whose budding relationship with a gregarious garbage collector (an equally fantastic James Earl Jones) is stressed by the difficulty of getting by in an oppressive system. As directed by the formerly blacklisted leftist filmmaker John Berry, this romantic comedy with a social conscience deftly balances warm humor with a serious look at the myriad issues—from cycles of poverty to the indignities of the welfare system—that shape its characters’ realities. The result is an empathetic chronicle of both Black working-class struggle and Black joy, a bittersweet, bighearted celebration of family and community set to a sunny soul soundtrack composed by Curtis Mayfield and performed by Gladys Knight & the Pips.

***

Claudine is a single mother in New York City who endures an exhausting commute to the suburbs where she works as a maid for wealthy families. In one carefully tended white community, she meets Roop, a charismatic but irresponsible garbage collector. Romance quickly ensues, but Claudine doubts that their relationship is good for her six children, and Rupert, despite his good nature, is reluctant to take on fatherhood.

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 30th, 1974

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Review: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion Spine #1052 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:35.216        
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,857,839,874 bytes

Feature: 27,409,428,480 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.09 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,857,839,874 bytes

Feature: 27,409,428,480 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.09 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary from 2003 featuring actors Diahann Carroll, James Earl Jones, and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs; filmmaker George Tillman Jr.; and Dan Pine, son of screenwriters Lester Pine and Tina Pine
• New conversation on the film between filmmaker Robert Townsend and programmer Ashley Clark (30:50)
• Illustrated audio excerpts from a 1974 AFI Harold Lloyd Master Seminar featuring Carroll (21:57)
• Uncovering John Berry - Imogene Sara-Smith (19:54)
PLUS: An essay by critic Danielle A. Jackson


Blu-ray Release Date:
October 13th, 2020
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 15

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion Blu-ray (September 2020): Criterion have transferred John Berry's Claudine to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "New 4K digital restoration". The image quality is excellent on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. Grain textures are rich and consistent, colors vibrant and contrast sublime. The film looks beautiful in 1080P.

NOTE: We have added 62 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Criterion use a linear PCM mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. It is a passive film in terms of effects but is notable for the score; Curtis Mayfield's (Willie Dynamite, Super Fly) songs performed by Gladys Knight & The Pips; Mr. Welfare Man, To Be Invisible, On and On, The Makings of You, Hold On and Make Yours a Happy Home. The sound is authentically flat but clean and consistent in the uncompressed. Criterion offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Criterion Blu-ray offers a 2003 (from the DVD) featuring actors Diahann Carroll, James Earl Jones, and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs; filmmaker George Tillman Jr.; and Dan Pine, son of screenwriters Lester Pine and Tina Pine. It's excellent, with each one popping in for a few scenes. James Earl Jones talks about Blaxploitation films, withholding an erection in bed with Miss Carroll (who he claims is the best kisser he has ever known,) Diahann Carroll talks about the children in the film, John Berry asking her to do the bath scene nude, her Academy nomination, there is input from Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (Freddie 'Boom Boom' Washington)... there are pauses but it was very interesting. There is also a new 1/2 hour conversation on the film between filmmaker Robert Townsend and programmer Ashley Clark about the groundbreaking depictions of Harlem's Black community in Claudine, how the film has impacted Townsend's career, and why it has remained one of his all-time favorite movies. The conversation was recorded remotely in June 2020. Also included is a 22-minute audio-only conversation recorded in May 1974 as part of the American Film Institute's Harold Lloyd Master Seminar series. It features actor Diahann Carroll discussing the making and release of Claudine. Lastly, is Uncovering John Berry - an interview with Imogene Sara-Smith for 20-minutes recorded by the Criterion Collection in July 2020, the film critic talks about the curious career of director John Berry—a man who worked with everyone from Lillian Gish and Orson Welles to Athol Fugard and Maya Angelou—and why he is not better known today. The package has a liner notes leaflet with an essay by critic Danielle A. Jackson.

John Berry's Claudine is a wonderfully warm human drama. It's about holding relationships together, survival, responsibility, values, children maturing and love. It's fabulous, and I really enjoyed it, the older commentary, and other supplements. A GREAT, unjustly neglected, film for Criterion to release on Blu-ray. Strongly recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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