Under the editorship of the late Robert Nemiroff, with a provocative and thoughtful introduction by preeminent African-American scholar Margaret B. Wilkerson and a commentary by Spike Lee, this completely restored screenplay is the accurate and authoritative edition of Lorraine Hansberry’s script and a testament to her unparalled accomplishment as a black woman artist.
The 1961 film version of A Raisin in the Sun, with a screenplay by the author, Lorraine Hansberry, won an award at the Cannes Film Festival even though one-third of the actual screenplay Hansberry had written had been cut out. The film did essentially bring Hansberry’s extraordinary play to the screen, but it failed to fulfill her cinematic vision.
Now, with this landmark edition of Lorraine Hansberry’s original script for the movie of A Raisin in the Sun that audiences never viewed, readers have at hand an epic, eloquent work capturing not only the life and dreams of a black family, but the Chicago—and the society—that surround and shape them.
Important changes in dialogue and exterior shots, a stunning shift of focus to her male protagonist, and a dramatic rewriting of the final scene show us an artist who understood and used the cinematic medium to transform a stage play into a different art form—a profound and powerful film.