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Directed by:
John Berry, American, 1917 - 1999  Search this
Written by:
Tina Pine, American, 1923 - 1998  Search this
Lester Pine, American, 1917 - 2001  Search this
Subject of:
Diahann Carroll, American, 1935 - 2019  Search this
James Earl Jones, American, born 1931  Search this
Tamu Blackwell, American, born 1955  Search this
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, American, born 1953  Search this
Yvette Curtis, American, born 1960  Search this
Composed by:
Curtis Mayfield, American, 1942 - 1999  Search this
Recorded by:
Gladys Knight & The Pips, American, 1953 - 1989  Search this
Owned by:
D.C. Public Library, American, founded 1896  Search this
acetate film
Duration (Reel 1): 18 Minutes
Length (Film): 650 Feet
Duration (Reel 2): 37 Minutes
Length (Film): 1300 Feet
sound films
color films (visual works)
feature films
16mm (photographic film size)
Place used:
Washington, District of Columbia, United States, North and Central America
Place depicted:
New York City, Manhattan, New York, United States, North and Central America
Place filmed:
New York City, Manhattan, New York, United States, North and Central America
Claudine was the first film produced by Third World Cinema, a production company founded by Ossie Davis, Diana Sands, James Earl Jones, Rita Moreno, and Hannah Weinstein. One of the primary goals of the company was to train and hire people of color in critical technical positions within film production. Directed by John Berry in 1974, Claudine centers a Black mother of six attempting to raise her children and date all the while navigating the highly contestable American welfare system. Set in Harlem, NY the film offers an intimate look into the ways poverty and the American welfare sytem intersect in ways that inform political identity and interpersonal relationships. Diahann Carroll was nominated for Best Actress for her leading role as Claudine.
This film was a part of the Washington D.C. Public Library's circulating 16mm film collection housed at the Martin Luther King Jr. Central Library. The collection is particularly noted for the wide variety of African American and African diaspora content.
A romantic comedy with the title Claudine. It consists of two reels of 16mm color acetate film with optical sound.
In the opening scene, Claudine (Diahann Carroll), a single mother of six who, in addition to working as a maid, relies on Welfare to support her family, can be seen walking down the street, accompanied by her children, before she boards a bus and sits with some other women who are seated at the back. One of the women inquires about Claudine’s recent temperament, to which Claudine responds that she hasn’t been sleeping lately.
The rest of the film chronicles the budding relationship between Claudine and Rupert “Roop” Johnson (James Earl Jones), a garbage collector. The relationship is impacted by their mutual experience of poverty and Claudine’s children’s hostility toward Rupert. The film also features music and lyrics composed and produced by Curtis Mayfield and performed by Gladys Knight & The Pips.
African American  Search this
Actors  Search this
Comedy  Search this
Families  Search this
Film  Search this
Instrumentalists (Musicians)  Search this
Singers (Musicians)  Search this
Soul (Music)  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions likely apply. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Collection title:
DC Public Library Film Collection
Media Arts-Film and Video
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture