The Color Purple [Blu-Ray] Steven Spielberg

The Color Purple [Blu-Ray] Steven Spielberg
In 1985, Steven Spielberg was known mostly as a populist director, having titles like Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. under his belt, appealing to blanket escapism and the status quo. While not a bad thing, it's not exactly the sort of resume one would expect from the person adapting Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-Winning novel of African-American physical and emotional brutality in the early twentieth century. But, as we all know, he did it and it worked, giving him some added artistic credibility and launching the careers of Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg. It wasn't without fault, however, modifying the text from epistolary, realist fiction to straightforward, uplifting and occasionally twee fare, but the core theology and impassioned ire remained intact. Telling the story of Celie (Goldberg), raped and impregnated by her father, separated from her sister, Nettie, and sold off to the abusive Albert (Danny Glover), The Color Purple shifts the focus of the novel away from Nettie's African journey almost entirely, focusing on life back in America. The vivid lesbian depictions are reduced to a single kiss, which was still controversial for the time, and Albert's character was given a shred of humanity in an effort to placate an audience looking to believe there's good in everyone. While ultimately a betrayal to the text, much like minimizing Sofia's (Winfrey) defeatist grief by having Miss Milly (Dana Ivey) goof about in a car comically, it did open up the story to a much broader audience, which is a mixed blessing. Regardless, this tale of repression and the determination of the human spirit brought the world of entertainment a veritable cornucopia of talent that would go onto greatness. Along with an attached booklet outlining the cast biographies and production hurdles, the Blu-Ray includes an absurd amount of special features that expand upon the adaptation process, the casting process and what this story meant to the actors involved. There is also a "Making of" supplement, along with a featurette about the Tony Award-winning musical and galleries. Very little is left to the imagination after absorbing this thoughtfully packaged Blu-Ray edition. (Warner)