5.06.2011

A note on Poitier


It’s been a busy week, so I’ll leave you with this shot of Sidney Poitier and Lilia Skala in Lilies of the Field (dir. Ralph Nelson, 1963), the latest film in my attempt to work my way year by year through cinema history.  It’s only a so-so film, but it’s worth seeing if only because Poitier generates enough charisma here to power a small city.  He hadn’t yet completely settled into his role as “Mr. African-American Dignity,” as Susan Bordo has called him, typecast in parts that required him to serve as A Credit to His Race.  As Homer Smith (the only role for which he won an Academy Award) he’s remarkably relaxed, good-humored, earthy—it’s a performance of simplicity and great joy.

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