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(Review originally written at 10 February 2010)

The reason why this movie isn't any better known and more appreciated to me seems because of its subject. Because of its controversial subject this movie never got a proper big release and still remains a fairly unknown one to this very day. Not that it's subject is that controversial now anymore though.

Basically in essence it's a movie about a white man befriending a black man. The friendship does not seem forced or unrealistic but the way it gets portrayed in this movie makes it all feel very real. We see these different ethnics mingle in with each other, as if it's just completely normal. Unfortunately of course back in those days it really wasn't regarded as anything normal. Seeing a black man talking to a white girl and just having fun with her as a friend must have been an hard thing to watch for instance for some proportions of its 1957 audience.

You can really understand why Sidney Poitier has always been and still is being respected so much by the Hollywood society and the black-community in general. Of course it's one of the reasons why he also received an Honorary Award at the Oscar's, in 2002. In his movies he often fights against discrimination and prejudiced issues, with of course "In the Heat of the Night" as the best example of this. A real role model, that certainly has inspired many Afro-American actors, to this very day. But on top of that, he also was a great actor. Yes, he is still alive but he has pretty much retired completely from movies now it seems, since his last credited role is from 2001.

This movie was Martin Ritt's directorial debut and he also wasn't given too much movie to spend on his movie. The studios were probably also a bit reluctant mainly because of its concept and/or because it was Ritt's first movie. Or perhaps it was simply due to the fact that MGM just wasn't that big anymore and it had left its best days behind them. Ever since the '50's on Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer sort of had the reputation of making not too great and cheap movies, while in the early years before that it was really one of the biggest studios with lots of stars and acclaimed directors attached to it, who made many award winning classic movies. Luckily for them their reputation is starting to change again and whenever the MGM-logo appears at a movie people are no longer expecting a lesser-movie anymore.

Anyway, even with its restrained budget and limited resources they managed to make a great movie out of this one. The movie is very simple, with only a few characters and a simplistic plot in it. The movie however still manages to capture you with its story and subjects, without ever starting to become preachy or anything about it. It makes the movie an effective one as well with its subjects.

Really a movie that deserves to be seen.

8/10

About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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