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In 1950s Massachusetts, a wealthy black woman engaged to a poor white beatnik learns about her family history. The stories revolve around the racial and class complexities of interracial and class-based marriages.

Director:

Charles Burnett

Writers:

Dorothy West (novel), Lisa Jones (teleplay)
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5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Halle Berry ... Shelby Coles
Eric Thal ... Meade Howell
Lynn Whitfield ... Corinne Coles
Carl Lumbly ... Lute McNeil
Michael Warren ... Clark Coles
Marianne Jean-Baptiste ... Ellen Coles
Cynda Williams ... Liz Odis
Charlayne Woodard
Richard Brooks ... Lincoln Odis
Gabriel Casseus ... Hannibal
Shirley Knight ... Gram (Miss Caroline)
Ethel Ayler ... Eunice
Paul Butler Paul Butler ... Preacher
Peter Francis James ... Isaac Coles
Carl Gordon ... Mr. Hawkins
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Storyline

Shelby Coles is engaged to marry talented white jazz musician Meade Howell, but the pair face opposition from both Meade's family, who object to an inter-racial marriage, and Shelby's parents, who want her to marry a professional. As Shelby is afflicted by premarital doubts, handsome Lute McNeil arrives on the scene, determined to make Shelby his at any cost.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Two men. Two different worlds. One final decision. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Corinne Coles: I know it was harsh when I spoke of you being a stain on your in-laws' sheets. It's because I was a stain on my mother's.
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Connections

References Late Spring (1949) See more »

User Reviews

 
It tackles a subject of which I was ignorant.
11 August 2008 | by Andrew_S_HattonSee all my reviews

Obviously we all compare ourselves with others to some degree even though it is not a praiseworthy activity, however I had never considered the extent to which class-ism probably wrecked relationships amongst Black families in the early 20th century.

Yes the story was perhaps too fanciful with just about every relationship portrayed, affected by the same issue but it sure does expose the issue as I had never considered it before.

It is interesting to read that Dorothy West had the book, 30 years in the making. I wonder how it would have been received if it had been completed prior to the beginnings of the racial revolution in the sixties with Dr Martin Luther King etc.

Somehow the whole thing seemed a bit "wooden" in delivery but nonetheless as it tackled a subject that I suspect has been unconsidered by most, it was worthwhile doing and not surprisingly needed the backing of Oprah Winfrey to see the light of day.

It put me somewhat in mind of the trans racial issues as presented in the musical Showboat which I would recommend to anyone who wants to explore these issues in a more subtle and tuneful production.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 February 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Wedding See more »

Filming Locations:

Southport, North Carolina, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(edited)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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