|The Piano Lesson|
|Based on|| The Piano Lesson |
by August Wilson
|Screenplay by||August Wilson|
|Directed by||Lloyd Richards|
|Starring|| Charles S. Dutton |
|Music by||Dwight Andrews|
Stephen James Taylor
|Country of origin||United States|
|Producers|| August Wilson |
|Running time||95 minutes|
|Production companies||Craig Anderson Productions|
Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions
|Distributor|| CBS |
|Original release||February 5, 1995|
The Piano Lesson is a 1995 American television film based on the play The Piano Lesson by August Wilson. Produced by Hallmark Hall of Fame, the film originally aired on CBS on February 5, 1995. Directed by Lloyd Richards, the film stars Charles S. Dutton and Alfre Woodard,and relies on most of its cast from the original Broadway production.
On September 30, 2020, it was announced that Denzel Washington is planning a new film adaptation for Netflix. Filming is expected to begin Summer 2021 in Pittsburgh.
Boy Willie (Charles S. Dutton) and his friend Lymon (Courtney B. Vance) travel from Mississippi to Pittsburgh, where he wishes his sister Berniece (Alfre Woodard) will give him the family's heirloom piano so that he can sell it to buy land from Mr. Sutter (Tim Hartman), a descendant of the family that once owned Willie's own ancestors as slaves. The piano itself had at one time belonged to the wife of the original Sutter, the white former owner of their family... and decades earlier, Berniece and Boy Willie's grandfather had, at the slave master's instructions, carved the black family's African tribal history and American slave history into the piano's surface.
When Boy Willie arrives, his Uncle Doaker (Carl Gordon) tells Willie that Berniece won't part with the piano. Berniece's boyfriend Avery (Tommy Hollis) and her Uncle Wining Boy (Lou Myers) also attempt for reasons of their own to get Berniece to sell. As selling the piano would be like turning her back on their people and their past, Berniece continues to refuse.
DVD Verdict wrote that the "excellent writing leaps off the screen." While noting that most TV films seem geared "towards the lowest common Nielsen family demographic", they write that "something crafted, filled with inordinate drama and rich, dimensional characters just blares across the airwaves, filling up your deepest, hungry cinematic aesthetic," and that this recognition is the case for the Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize winning play The Piano Lesson. They noted that Wilson has been long known for "profound, deeply moving portraits of African Americans in the United States," and that he "understands the issues facing minorities better than most modern playwrights do." They called the film a "brilliant analog," and a "fable of magic realism."
TV Guide wrote that the film is "a wrenching but flawed cable adaptation of August Wilson's play," and that while the film was another Wilson "folk tale about the legacy of slavery," that "Sadly, this particular production fails to make any psychological or ectoplasmic ghosts come alive for the audience." They noted this was not because the film did not make the playwright's message clear, the problem was in "its obviousness" in that Wilson belabored his points.
|Date of Ceremony||Award||Category||Recipient||Result|
|September 10, 1995||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Television Movie||Richard Welsh, Craig Anderson, August Wilson, Robert Huddleston, Brent Shields||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie||Charles S. Dutton||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie||Alfre Woodard||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special||Lloyd Richards||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special||August Wilson||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or Movie||Michael C. Moore, David E. Fluhr, John Asman, Sam Black||Nominated|
|Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special||Vicki Sanchez||Nominated|
|Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie||Jim Oliver||Nominated|
|January 21, 1996||Golden Globe Award||Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film||Charles S. Dutton||Nominated|
|February 24, 1996||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie||Alfre Woodard||Won|
|April 6, 1996||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special||Charles S. Dutton||Nominated|
|Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special||Nominated|
|May 6,1996||Peabody Award||N/A||CBS and Craig Anderson Productions, Inc., in association with Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions, Inc.||Honored|
|1996||Cinema Audio Society Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Movie of the Week, Mini-Series or Special||David E. Fluhr, John Asman, Sam Black, Michael C. Moore||Won|
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