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Zer Netmouse
February 13th, 2005
09:46 am


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Black history month - got movies to suggest?
Recently Bill and I watched two classic movies starring Sidney Poitier that I highly recommend to people who weren't around during the civil rights movement, or really just anyone who hasn't seen them.

To Sir With Love
Is the story of an engineer who takes over a class at an alternatively structured school somehwere in England. He has a revelation when he realizes his unruly class aren't just kids - they are kids on the verge of graduating and becoming adults. Figuring out what they can really learn from him in the time they have left in school is a mutual process that's rewarding to watch.

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?
This classic movie whose cast includes Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepbourn is about a liberal young white woman who brings her black fiancee home to meet her parents. Keep in mind this is set in a time when mixed marriages were still illegal in some 17 states. Her parents (who raised her to be liberal in the first place) face a challenge in figuring out what they think of this problem in just one day.

Interestingly enough, they have a pretty cliche sort of "mammie" role in this movie, of the black maid who was the young woman's nanny. it seems a little out of place but I think they were just trying to highlight how different the younger generation was from the previous one.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:February 13th, 2005 09:03 am (UTC)
Both excellent movies. Of course, matching Sidney Poitier on an off day would be the pinnacle of most actors' careers.
Date:February 18th, 2005 09:02 am (UTC)
It always kinda bugged me in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? how they made Poitier not only a doctor, but a award-winning doctor who had spent his life doing groundbreaking charitable work in Africa... I realize the idea was to make it so Tracy & Hepburn had absolutely no logical reason to object to the marriage, but I always had the uncomfortable feeling it was to compensate for the fact that he's black. Like, yes, he's black, but he's a brilliant philanthropist... Would it have been less okay for them to get married if he were a plumber, or if he owned a diner?

You'll also note that despite it being such a "progressive" movie, they never show Poitier and Houghton kissing.
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