Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket

  • Rating: *****
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price
  • : Public performance: $295.00
  • Date: Copyright 1989. Released 1990.
  • Descriptors: Black authors. Baldwin, James. American literature. Authors - American.
  • Production Information: Live action, Film transfer. Produced by Karen Thorsen. Sponsored by American Masters. Color. 87 min.
  • Production Company: Nobody Knows Productions
  • Available from: California Newsreel 149 9th St., #420 San Francisco, CA 94103 (415)621-6196
  • Cataloging: 809 Baldwin, James, 1924-||Afro-American authors - Biography
  • Awards: American Film & Video Festival Red Ribbon, 1990.
  • Print Entry #: 2:342
  • Reviewer: Mary Lea Prentice

    This is an outstanding biographical video of writer James Baldwin, covering his entire life history. Opening and closing scenes are of his funeral, and there are numerous flashbacks (both in color and black-and-white) of his homes, his friends, and his family. The intent of the production is to reveal to the viewer the hardships imposed on Baldwin and others of his race during his lifetime.

    Baldwin never tried to hide the facts that he was black, impoverished, or homosexual, and many of his books are written about these very personal subjects. His novels, such as Go Tell It on the Mountain, Giovanni's Room, and Another Country, were not considered "acceptable" during his early writing career as they describe the agonies of trying to live with one's homosexuality and deal with intimate interracial relationships. These were subjects that publishers of that day avoided, feeling that they were not proper reading material.

    Credits at the end of this videotape list over a dozen names of the prestigious people now living in France, Turkey, and the United States, who have been quoted and interviewed. Such important voices as Maya Angelou, David Baldwin (James' brother), David Lemming (his biographers), Malcolm X, and many others, are quoted or relate stories that help make this an interesting and informational documentary on James Baldwin.

    This is not only an excellent biography, but also a serious documentary of the anguish and hardships imposed on blacks during the lifetime of this author, lecturer, and teacher.

    The videography, including original footage in many instances, the background music, and the narration all work together to create a production that is informative and factual without being overly dramatic. Highly recommended for libraries serving literature studies on the secondary school or college level.

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