The Color Purple was not it familiar territory for a moviemaker whose glittering screen career had relied so far on man-eating sharks, flying saucers and extraterrestrials. Yet, in the end, Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel transcended his other works, in part because it was so different. Whoopi Goldberg gives a heart-breaking, Oscar-nominated performance as Celie, a Southern black woman who in the early years of the 20th century finds herself a slave within her own home -- married to a violently abusive sharecropper (Danny Glover) and still suffering the loss of her sister, from whom she'd been forcibly separated when they were young girls. The script dips and soars through a series of poignant, sometimes melodramatic vignettes involving racist mobs, illicit love affairs and religious salvation, the latter scenes backed by a clapping and stomping gospel choir. Through it all Spielberg effectively captures the small but crucial victories of the human spirit which punctuate the story and make for an original and uplifting film.
Steven Spielberg's first cinematic attempt to delve deeper than escapism produced a rich, heartfelt epic that matched the Pulitzer Prize-winning credentials of Alice Walker's novel, receiving 11 Oscar nominations but famously winning none of them. The Color Purple is a triumph of all elements of production design, nominated for its screenplay, cinematography, makeup, costumes, art direction, score, and three of its actresses -- though not for director Spielberg. The snub may have helped push him as an artist toward such prestigious works as Schindler's List. One would hardly guess Whoopi Goldberg's roots were in comedy, given the layered dramatic performance she offers in her first real screen role. Oprah Winfrey (also debuting) and Margaret Avery are the other two-thirds of the heart-breaking dynamic between three black women in Spielberg's brutal world of racial and sexual prejudice. Even Danny Glover's role shows late-blooming sympathy, however agonizingly wrought, which demonstrates the dimension of Menno Meyjes' script. There's nothing simple about this early 20th century South, populated by characters paralyzed by the roles ascribed to them, and wickedly punished when they try to venture beyond their bounds. It boils the blood at the same time that it touches the soul, making for genuinely tear-soaked cinema with a visceral emotional payoff.
|Source:||Warner Home Video|
|Presentation:||[Full Frame, Wide Screen]|
|Sound:||[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]|