July 2001


The headline might make you think about Redman’s club-classic, but right now I would like for you to really take some action. There’s an 83-year-old man in Los Angeles suffering from advanced prostate cancer. His name is Lester Pine, and though the name may be unfamiliar, his work is not. Together with his late wife Tina, Lester wrote the 1974 classic "Claudine," which starred James Earl Jones and Diahann Carroll, who earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her work. Tangled in the blaxploitation era, “Claudine” came along and delivered a real story about hard working, loving and caring black folks.

I don't need to tell you just how beloved "Claudine" is, especially in the African-American community. In its warm-hearted depiction of a single mother finding love with a sanitation worker, audiences discovered a film that spoke honestly and humorously about real life issues. It’s been nearly thirty years since "Claudine" was released, and yet, inexplicably, this film has never been released on video. Can you even fathom that a film which featured an Academy Award nomination can’t be rented on video? Yet, I can go to my local video store and rent any low-rent junk. Nationally syndicated cartoonist Robb Armstrong devoted a recent Sunday "Jump Start" comic strip to "Claudine" and the injustice of its unavailability on video. As the strip's character Marcy exclaims, "It doesn't exist on video! Can you believe it?"

Today, in honor of Lester Pine and his pioneering film, I urge you to SEND US A NOTE ON WHY YOU WANT TO SEE THIS FILM DISTRIBUTED ON VIDEO. If you have no time to send a note, just send a reply to the pre-set e-mail address below. We will collect your concerns and deliver “one” powerful message to the studio that owns the rights. I would personally like to thank Derek Medve of http://www.moviegoods.com for supplying these fabulous images on a moments notice. And thanks to Dan Pine, Lester Pine’s son for alerting us of this situation. Time for some action! Although Lester Pine is very ill, he was able to supply a statement to blackfilm.com. Click here to read the note prepared by Lester Pine.

Shelby Jones


Please send your comments to: producer@blackfilm.com