Friday, May 29, 2015

The Seventies Film and Society

The follow up to the previous post mostly about the seventies.

We discussed the work of Woody Strode.

The seventies represented a time of change in the way Blacks were portrayed in film and Television. There had been racist shows that laughed at Blacks. Sanford and Son was entirely something different. Sanford was the loveable quick
Buck dreamer in a pattern like SGT Bilko. The cast was almost entirely Black with the exception of a Puerto Rican neighbor and an inept White Cop. Sanford had a revolving cast of friends mostly Grady and Bubba. The sister in law Aunt Esther stole every scene she was in as the religious woman with an alcoholic, but loving husband.

In many ways Sanford and Son and Good Times were more realistic than the Brady Bunch. Times were tough in the seventies and the poor imperfect families struggling to get by were more believable than the manicured Brady family.
One of the charming features of All in the Family is that often you would see financial issues impact the Bunker Family.

Up until then the focus of TV was either more rural people and or cookie cutter families. In many ways, we could relate more to the Sanford home than the Bewitched home.

In the seventies Black men could be anything. They could be proud and cerebral like Rosce Lee Browne. They could be heroic like Jim Brown. They could be erudite, charming and hysterical like Bill Cosby. They could be Americas younger
Brother Gary Coleman. They could be the successful mirror image of Archie Bunker.

In essence the seventies changed the perception of race in America. This change happens without in your face preaching. It happens when superior talents in acting and writing are given the opportunity to portray a changing country.

1 comment:

beakerkin said...

I accidentally deleted a comment from the Duck.
I don't know if the image of the black man as sinister scared the white audiences. strode did play the villain in Tarzan films.

I don't think Hollywood knew what to do with Black Charachters. They were part of the Old Wrst, but the writing and the stories weren't there either.

It took the realism of the seventies to add modern plot lines, The Seventies is an under rated era for film changes.