Released in 1968, it was the first mainstream film out of Hollywood to maturely depict love between a black man and a black woman.
The premise: Ivy, a black maid, tells the white family that she’s been employed by for nine years that she’s leaving. She explains that it’s not them, it’s her. She wants to better herself, leave their house in Long Island and head into the big city (NYC), go to secretarial school, focus on a future, HAVE A DAMN LIFE.
The fuck you say?????????
The family, headed by the late Carroll O’Connor, is not trying to hear it. Not. at. all. Ivy explains it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love them, there’s just no future for her in BEING THEIR MAID FOREVER. Actually, Carroll O’Connor’s character is like what’s the big deal, we’ll get another maid, but the mother and the now-adult kids are up in arms. They love Ivy. Ivy must stay. So one of the kids (played by a young Beau Bridges) hatches
the hare-brained idea a plan to keep her around: they’re gonna find Ivy some romance!!! That’ll quash that silly wanderlust phase she’s going through. Because, really, isn’t that the answer to every black maid’s prayers? A dude? Some dick? (I wonder if this works on Latina maids.)
Black love, potentially foiled plans, resistant bachelorhood, and desperate white folks ensue.
Mind you, this is a really touching, sweet movie that is enjoyable to watch. It’s just that general premise (“how dare our black maid leave!“) that sticks in my colored craw. According to The Internet Movie Database, Sidney Poitier is the one who came up with this story (the script was written by someone else, Robert Alan Aurthur). It’s worth checking out if you’ve never seen it. The black characters are the main storyline and the white folks and their wily machinations pretty much fade to black (ha!!) until things start to really hit the fan.
*No offense, Sidney. I greatly admire you and the trails you’ve blazed for us. But, technically speaking, you do have a dick. Don’t you? I’m just sayin’.