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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Black Girl (1972)

  • Brock Peters
  • Claudia McNeil
  • Leslie Uggams    
  • Louise Stubbs
Black Girl, originally a play by Texas born writer J. E. Franklin, was adapted for the screen by Franklin and directed by the great Ossie Davis. The result is a stagey but effective extended family drama, with three sisters (Gloria Edwards, Loretta Greene, and Peggy Pettit) plotting against the successful adopted fourth daughter (Leslie Uggams). Brock Peters is top-billed as the father of the girls, but his performance is little more than a glorified cameo, and it's up to the women to carry the show. Most effective are Greene, as the pregnant middle daughter, Louise Stubbs as the mother, and Claudia McNeill as the grandmother and matriarch of the family. Less effective is Uggams, whose droopy eyed look simply doesn't evince much sympathy, and Edwards, who is over the top at times as the eldest and meanest sibling. There's a brief non-speaking appearance by Mrs. Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and a sterling performance by an uncredited gentlemen who plays Mr. Herbert, a boarder who has shacked up with McNeill's character. This film is all about the characters, and there are some meaty scenes, especially when Uggams returns home from college unannounced. The film was clearly a labour of love, and all things considered, is a simple but solid effort, quite moving at times and generally effective.    

Link to soundtrack review
Black Girl (1972) - Ed Bogas


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