Okay, so it wasn’t really a marathon. Instead, I watched several of Sidney Poitier’s films over the course of a couple of weeks.
After I told y’all about his book and mentioned some of his movies, I realized I really wanted to see them. The movies I chose to watch were Blackboard Jungle, The Defiant Ones, To Sir With Love, In the Heat of the Night, Lilies of the Field and A Patch of Blue. My top three favorite were:
On his way home to Philadelphia, Homicide Detective Virgil Tibbs, is wrongfully accused of murdering an influential, white business man in Sparta, Mississippi.
I remember watching the TV series when I was little. The one with Carroll O’Connor. I really liked it and so I was reluctant to watch this movie but I was glad I did!
Rod Steiger plays Bill Gillespie, Sparta’s sheriff. At first you think he has no idea what he is doing and he doesn’t, not when it comes to looking at the facts of a case that could cost his town a lot of jobs. Similarly, at first glance you think Tibbs is this great guy and he is except when he allows his own prejudices to get the better of him in light of the facts of the case.
Mostly I like this movie though because it was a good who did it flick. The two men in the lead are neither of them perfect but their antagonism toward one another makes for a great backdrop against a case that appears to have a lot of dead ends but simultaneously points everywhere except for at the one person who did do it.
Selina, a blind girl from a poor white family is befriended at the local park by Gordon. At first he tries only to help her remove an unruly caterpillar from her person but he keeps getting drawn into conversation with her each time he starts to take his leave.
I liked the movie because it showed the prejudice of the times from both sides of the racial divide. Just as Selina’s mother is very against Gordon due to his skin color, Gordon’s brother, a doctor, is equally set against Selina. The brother, like the mother, also does not care for the obvious difference in color between the two but, he is also very unimpressed with her ignorant background.
Gordon is a single man who is and has been focused on his education and job. He meets Selina and his priorities shift. Selina has been sheltered and life has given her every opportunity to be bitter but she embraces the changes that meeting Gordon bring. It is a nice, what could be, love story.
Honestly, I like this movie the most because of Poitier’s song that he sings in it, “Amen.” In fact, Poitier sings in most of the films I watched. He has a great voice but I didn’t know that until I watched Lilies of the field. It took me by surprise and so maybe that is why I liked it so much.
Apart from that though, the story is most notably a funny story. Homer Smith stops to get some water from the nun’s well for his car. Smith then gets talked into staying and building a chapel. Yeah, I know, how does someone go from drawing water from a well to laying brick for a church? Watch it and see. You will not be disappointed.
If you watch any of these movies, let me know whether you liked them and what you did and did not like about them.