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Maya Angelou's 'Georgia, Georgia' Coming Out On DVD This Fall (This Time For Sure!)

by Sergio
November 1, 2012 9:11 AM
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Georgia, Georgia

Last year, in May 2011, I reported that, for the first time on DVD, the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia with Diana Sands, would be coming out on DVD that year.

Well, it turned out that, according to film historian and critic Steve Ryfle, that wasn't entirely correct. The film was definitely set to come out on DVD, but not as soon as I reported back then. Ryfle, who produced the DVD commentary for the film, informed us that the the original release date originallly reported in the press, was incorrect, and the film would be coming out on a later date.

However, now I can report that Georgia, Georgia will indeed be finally coming out this fall, through speciality DVD label Scorpion Releasing, which specializes in cult and rare in-demand films, from the 60's and 70's.

Undoubtedly, one of the most obscure and rarely seen films from the 1970's, the low budget film, was based on an original screenplay by Maya Angelou, who is often mistakenly credited as also being the director of the film.

It was, in fact, directed by Swedish director Stig Bjorkman, and was presented at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1973. But, nevertheless, unless I'm mistaken, it is still the first feature film actually produced that was written by a black female screenwriter.

The film did get an American release through Cinerama Releasing, which was a major studio at the time, but it quickly faded from sight.

It deals with a troubled American singer (played by Sands, in one of her last roles before her untimely death in 1973 at the age of 39) who's in Stockholm to perform at a concert, but falls in love with a white Vietnam war deserter, played by Dirk Benedict (who of course would later go on TV's Battleship Galactica and The A Team with Mr T). Needless to say, this doesn't sit well with those within Sand's circle, which eventually leads to a stunning final plot twist.

I haven't seen it in centuries since it's been totally unavailable for so long, but I do seem to recall that it's a rather odd yet intriguing film, and its sudden, shock twist ending  will no doubt leave some people confused or enraged, which I'm sure was Ms. Angelou's intention. One can almost sense in the script that she herself was wrestling with some of her own personal issues at the time.

The DVD, as I stated above, will include a commentary track with Benedict and director Bjorkman, recalling their memories about the film and behind the scenes details.

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  • Sonia Perry | July 22, 2014 4:13 PMReply

    Diana Sands had Ms Angelou banned from the set. Yes, it was Ms Angelou's screenplay, but Ms Sands claimed Ms Angelou made her "nervous" and she "couldn't act if she was nervous." So the director had to ask Ms Angelou to stay away from the set. Ironically, Ms Sands wore her own hair in cornrows under the wigs. This was Stockholm in the early 70s, and of course the set hairdressers had no idea how to care for black hair or do cornrows. So Ms Sands expected the only other black person present--yes, Ms Angelou--to cornrow her hair. And then leave the set because she didn't want her there.
    Ms Angelou writes about this in Chapter 27 of her autobiography (one of many) "Mom & Me & Mom."

  • steve ryfle | November 6, 2012 2:26 PMReply

    Ruby Dee also co-wrote the script for UP TIGHT (1968). But both Dee's and Hansberry's scripts were adaptations. As far as we've been able to determine, the Maya Angelou Script for GEORGIA, GEORGIA is the first original feature film screenplay written by an African-American woman. I hate to hedge, but the contributions of African-Americans in film are not always so well documented, as you know, so there may be others we aren't yet aware of.

    Sergio, thanks for covering this release. The film deserves to be seen, as it was one of a kind. Let me know if I can be of any help. Cheers.

  • firebrand | November 1, 2012 9:01 PMReply

    I'll be checking this out. Sands was a great, charismatic actress with a lot of screen presence.

  • lauren | November 1, 2012 2:52 PMReply

    Always loved her work... sadly missed.

  • Sheila | November 1, 2012 1:35 PMReply

    Finally, Diana Sands is one of my all-time favorite actresses.

  • ALM | November 1, 2012 10:48 AMReply

    I learned something this morning. I never knew that the iconic Ms. Angelou wrote screenplays.

  • Ashley1 | November 1, 2012 10:12 PM

    Dr. Angelou is TRULY a renaissance woman.

  • Edwina | November 1, 2012 10:40 AMReply

    Lorraine Hansberry wrote the screenplay for "A Raisin in the Sun". 1961

  • sergio | November 1, 2012 11:05 AM

    You're right! Hansberry did the screenplay adaptation of her play for the film a full decade before Angelou wrote her script. The question is now was there anyone in between?

  • Savannah Morgan | November 1, 2012 10:18 AMReply

    "But, nevertheless, unless I'm mistaken, it is still the first feature film actually produced that was written by a black female screenwriter."... Sir, unless I'm humbly mistaken but wouldn't "lady sings the blues" circa 1972 be the 1st?? Written by Oscar nominated Suzanne Depasse (despite its shared credit & book adaptation)

  • sergio | November 1, 2012 10:33 AM

    Nope Georgia was released in the U.S. in March 1972. Lady didn't come out in theaters until Oct 1972. So Georgia is still the first

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