Movies You Missed: 'The Color Purple'

Oct 7, 2017
Originally published on October 7, 2017 7:18 am
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Classic movie montage time.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CASABLANCA")

HUMPHREY BOGART: (As Rick Blaine) Here's looking at you, kid.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GONE WITH THE WIND")

CLARK GABLE: (As Rhett Butler) Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

MARLON BRANDO: (As Terry Malloy) I could've been a contender.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ALL ABOUT EVE")

BETTE DAVIS: (As Margo) Fasten your seat belts.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JERRY MAGUIRE")

CUBA GOODING JR: (As Rod Tidwell) Show me the money.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TAXI DRIVER")

ROBERT DE NIRO: (As Travis Bickle) You talking to me?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "WHEN HARRY MET SALLY")

ESTELLE REINER: (As Older Woman Customer) I'll have what she's having.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE COLOR PURPLE")

OPRAH WINFREY: (As Sofia) I ain't never thought I'd have to fight in my own house.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LION KING")

JEREMY IRONS: (As Scar) Long live the king.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE SHINING")

JACK NICHOLSON: (As Jack Torrance) Here's Johnny.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "STAR WARS: EPISODE V - THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK")

DAVID PROWSE: (As Darth Vader) I am your father.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE WIZARD OF OZ")

MARGARET HAMILTON: (As The Wicked Witch of the West) I'll get you, my pretty.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS")

ANDY SERKIS: (As Gollum) Precious.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE DARK KNIGHT")

HEATH LEDGER: (As Joker) Why so serious?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY")

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: (As The Terminator) Hasta la vista, baby.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE GODFATHER")

RICHARD S CASTELLANO: (As Clemenza) Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

SIMON: It's the latest installment of our campaign to force family, friends, colleagues and listeners to watch classic movies that we quote but some people have missed. Today, a film I haven't seen in years but Claudia Humphrey, an attorney in Florida, hadn't seen ever, "The Color Purple." Of course, it's based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, brought to the screen by Steven Spielberg. And it tells the story of Celie Johnson and her struggle to emerge from abuse and poverty in rural Georgia. "The Color Purple" has also become a Tony-winning Broadway musical.

Claudia Humphrey watched the movie for us. She joins us now from member station WLRN in Miami. Thanks so much for being with us.

CLAUDIA HUMPHREY: You're welcome. I'm very delightful to be here.

SIMON: I'm so glad we can speak with you. You've seen the movie a lot more recently than I have, so I'm going to take a seat, and you tell us what it's all about.

HUMPHREY: OK. The movie is about women's rights. The Celie, the main character - she's a battered woman. She had two children from the man who she thought it was her father. And the children were taken away from her, and then she was sold to a man who married her, Mister, as Celie used to call him. He always see her as an object, sexual object, and as his maid. She never existed for him as a human being. I think that is the most painful line of the story.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE COLOR PURPLE")

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: (As Celie) I'm poor, black - I may even be ugly. But dear God, I'm here. I'm here.

SIMON: I mean, Celie has great largeness of spirit. Doesn't she? I mean, this is not a movie about being wronged and seeking vengeance but a movie about being deeply, profoundly, intimately wronged and seeking love. There's a scene in particular that you wanted to commend to us. Tell us about it, if you could.

HUMPHREY: Shug - she has a tough relationship with her father because she is too liberal for the time this story happened. So her father considered her as a sinner. And her father was in the church in the service. And Shug was singing out of the church with some friends when, all of the sudden, they heard music coming from the church.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE COLOR PURPLE")

THE CHRIST MEMORIAL COGIC CHOIR: (Singing, as characters) God is trying to tell you something. Thank you, God. God is trying to tell you something. Maybe God - maybe God is trying to tell you something right now.

HUMPHREY: And she stops singing. And then, she starts listening to the song. And she started marching towards the church. And she felt the Holy Spirit. And the whole church felt the Holy Spirit, and the father understood that God had called Shug.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE COLOR PURPLE")

THE CHRIST MEMORIAL COGIC CHOIR: (Singing, as characters) God is trying to tell you something. God is trying to tell you something.

MARGARET AVERY: (As Shug Avery) See, Daddy - sinners have soul, too.

HUMPHREY: For me, that was so beautiful. And what is so relevant for me - I'm gay, and so many religious people - they want to take our right away to worship God. And I think what this world and this country needs this moment is compassion, is love and to understand that everybody has the right to worship God and feel that calling from God.

SIMON: Well, I'm breathless. And you're a civil rights attorney. Right?

HUMPHREY: Yes, I am. I am a civil rights attorney. I am an asylee. I had - I was forced to leave my country eight years ago. And I came to the United States, and the government granted me asylum. And I didn't speak English eight years ago. And I had to start all over again from zero. So I identify myself with all the women in the movie because I have to overcome so many things, and I pursue my dreams. And I went to law school. And for me, human right is above all.

SIMON: Well, I am just honored to meet you - and to hear your talk.

HUMPHREY: (Laughter) Thank you. Thank you for open these microphones for a couple of minutes and can share my history, this movie with people. And I ask American people to please stop, to please forgive, to please - there is time for all of us to come together under one only God and forgive each other and keep moving.

SIMON: Wow. Claudia Humphrey, an attorney in Miami. Thanks so much, just an honor to talk to you

HUMPHREY: You're very welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF QUINCY JONES' "REUNION/FINALE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.