Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

3.0 2
Director: John Korty

Cast: Cicely Tyson, Barbara Chaney, Richard Dysart

     
 

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Cicely Tyson ages from 19 to 110 in the role of Jane Pittman, a fictional African-American woman whose life began in slavery and ended at the inception of the Civil Rights Movement. Northern journalist Quentin Lerner (Michael Murphy) travels to the racially polarized South of 1962 to interview Ms. Pittman for a potential book. Her life unfolds in flashbacks, many… See more details below

Overview

Cicely Tyson ages from 19 to 110 in the role of Jane Pittman, a fictional African-American woman whose life began in slavery and ended at the inception of the Civil Rights Movement. Northern journalist Quentin Lerner (Michael Murphy) travels to the racially polarized South of 1962 to interview Ms. Pittman for a potential book. Her life unfolds in flashbacks, many painful and unpleasant, but just as many are uplifting and hopeful. The film concludes with one of the most indelible images of all '70s television: the centenarian Jane Pittman defiantly drinking from a segregated water fountain for the first time. Based on the novel by Ernest J. Gaines and filmed on location in Baton Rouge, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman won nine Emmy Awards, including Best Actress (Tyson), Director (John Korty), and Screenplay (Tracy Keenan Wynn). The film premiered January 31, 1974, on CBS.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
This superb historical drama tells the fictional story of 110-year-old former slave Jane Pittman. Or more accurately, the movie allows the fictional Miss Jane to tell her own story as both eyewitness and participant in 110 years of painfully real American history. Cicely Tyson gives a powerhouse performance as the plainspoken and spirited Jane, tracing her turbulent life journey from the skittish young slave girl freed at the end of the Civil War to the withered but indomitable old woman who finds herself at the center of a local civil rights struggle. Tyson’s portrayal is made all the more vivid by the thoroughly believable "aging" make-up created by Stan Winston and a young Ric (Star Wars) Baker. Tracy Keenan Wynn’s brilliant screenplay, adopted from Ernest J. Gaines’s novel, manages to convey the complexity of the black experience in this country with a subtlety and intelligence rarely achieved in film or television. The movie is also full of excellent supporting performances, including iconic folk singer Odetta as fellow slave Big Laura, Katherine Helmond as a Confederate widow, and Thalmus Rasulala as Jane’s adopted son, Ned. But the movie belongs to Tyson, whose tour-de-force performance earned her one of the production’s nine Emmy awards and universal acclaim as one of the greatest actresses of her generation. It’s a testament to both Tyson’s and the movie’s transcendent power that, in the years since its 1973 TV debut, Jane Pittman has stuck in the country’s collective conscious as a real, live, flesh-and-blood person, not a fictional creation. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is, simply put, a masterpiece. --Paul Leo
All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
It's hard to overstate the impact that The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman had when it was first broadcast in 1974. It was a landmark event, both in terms of social consciousness and quality television drama. While the passage of time has inevitably softened that impact somewhat, Pittman remains an outstanding production, anchored by one of the most acclaimed -- and deservedly so -- lead performances in the history of television. The title role requires an actress who can convincingly span numerous decades in age, but while this kind of thing gets the most attention, it's just about the least demanding aspect of the part. Pittman requires an actress who can grow and change in both subtle and dramatic ways, who can "showboat" during the big dramatic moments yet do so in such a way that she never stops being the character to become an actress. She must also be engaging, defiant, vulnerable, headstrong, and quietly powerful. Cicely Tyson, in a truly amazing performance, is all that is required and more. She's surrounded by an exceptional supporting cast, buttressed by sterling direction by John Korty and blessed with an outstanding screenplay from Tracy Keenan Wynn. She doesn't let any of them down -- and vice versa. From all angles, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a stunning achievement.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/11/2005
UPC:
0074645895390
Original Release:
1974
Rating:
NR
Source:
Classic Media
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:50:00
Sales rank:
20,335

Special Features

Closed Caption; "The Making of the Autobiography of Ms. Jane Pittman" documentary - behind the scenes footage; new interviews with Ernest J. Gaines, Odetta, director John Korty, producers Rick Rosenberg and Bob Christiansen and more; "The Writing of the Autobiography of Ms. Jane Pittman" documentary - Ernest J. Gaines gives an in-depth look at the people and places that inspired his award-winning novel; "Oral Story Telling Tradition" documentary - scholars explain the important of oral story-telling; Best Picture and Best Actress Emmy clips; Digitally remastered; Interactive menus; Scene access

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Cicely Tyson Jane Pittman
Barbara Chaney Actor
Richard Dysart Master Bryant
Katherine Helmond Lady at House
Michael Murphy Quentin Lerner
Odette Actor
Joseph Tremice Actor
Joel Fluellen Unc Isom
Will Hare Elbert Cluveau
Thalmus Rasulala Ned
Dean Smith Ned - age 15
Bill Walker Edler Banks
Beatrice Winde Lena

Technical Credits
John Korty Director
Robert W. Christiansen Producer
James A. Crabe Cinematographer
Michael Haller Production Designer
Fred Karlin Score Composer
Sid Levin Editor
Rick Rosenberg Producer
Sandra Stewart Costumes/Costume Designer
Ted Adams Swanson Production Manager
Tracy Keenan Wynn Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Disc 1
1. February 1962 [6:12]
2. Civil Rights [4:35]
3. Jane's Story [7:17]
4. Freedom [5:31]
5. On Their Own [7:38]
6. Jane and Ned [4:53]
7. Dye Plantation [5:56]
8. The Committee [5:33]
9. Love and Dreams [6:06]
10. A New Start [5:21]
11. Devil Horse [6:40]
12. Ned Returns [5:10]
13. Cajun Killer [6:44]
14. One Big Family [7:21]
15. The One [5:21]
16. Demonstrations [4:26]
17. The Oak Tree [8:00]
18. One Last Stand [6:49]

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