Directed by Ivan Dixon: “The Sty of the Blind Pig”

Virtual Event
Thursday, Feb 10, 2022 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm
screen cap from movie of a woman

The Archive has postponed all January in-person screenings in consideration of the current COVID-19 surge. This screening is now virtual and will take place on February 10, 6 p.m. (Pacific Time). We appreciate your understanding and support as we plan for a safer start to 2022.

“The Sty of the Blind Pig”

U.S., 5/31/1974

KCET’s production of Phillip Hayes Dean’s critically-acclaimed play, first presented by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1971, examines the volatile relationship between a mother and daughter torn by generational change amidst the backdrop of the burgeoning civil rights movement. Directed by pioneer Ivan Dixon (The Spook Who Sat by the Door), the incisive character drama stars Emmy, Obie and Tony Award-winner Mary Alice (Fences) as a lonely woman trapped between the desire for a free, modern life and the traditionalist force of her religious, domineering mother (Maidie Norman). When a blind, itinerant street singer (Richard Ward) enters their fragile world, the tensions of the past and present converge to shattering results. Dixon artfully brings the claustrophobic teleplay to a forceful boil, with Mary Alice delivering a harrowing performance of depth rarely seen in prime-time television. In 1971, Time magazine hailed the off-Broadway production of The Sty of the Blind Pig as “one of the ten best plays of the year.” Newsweek wrote that the play “captures with great sensitivity the moment of transition … triggered by Martin Luther King Jr. when the civil rights movement was born.” Originally set in the early 1960s, Dean’s work is adapted here to 1955, during the historic Montgomery bus boycott. In an interview with The Los Angeles Sentinel, Dixon described the powerful TV drama as “about Blacks who came up from the South to make their way in the big Northern cities … just when Blacks in the South were beginning their long struggle for equality, their right to sit anywhere they wanted to ...”

Mark Quigley, John H. Mitchell Television Curator.

DCP, color, 90 min. A KCET Production. Executive Producer: Norman Lloyd. Producer: George Turpin. Director: Ivan Dixon. Screenwriter: Philip Hayes Dean. With: Mary Alice, Scatman Crothers, Madi Norman, Richard Ward.

Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive from the original 2 in. videotape. Video transfer at the CBS Media Exchange. Use courtesy of KCETLink.


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