Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bad Girl

It's the same every weekend. I go into it thinking "Finally, the weekend! I'll have so much more time to watch movies!"...and end up so busy that I actually lose days and movies. I was a bad girl again this weekend and didn't get around to sitting down for a showing until tonight (though, can you really blame me when I worked more hours these past three days than I have in the past two weeks combined?).

It's late, and I'm tired, so I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Nobody wants to read a long, rambling page anyway, least of all myself.

Tonight's pick was The Defiant Ones (1958), another racially charged drama, following hot on the heels of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1966). Again, this one features Sidney Poitier, ever the dazzling scene-stealer, and the masterful direction of Stanley Kramer, who also crafted Dinner. Kramer has an enormous reputation in the film world, and he certainly lives up to it here.

The theme of the movie was a groundbreaking and thought-provoking one at the time, as many Americans were still caught in the throes of the widespread bigotry that plagued the nation. We follow a white prisoner and a black prisoner who are chained together as they make their desperate escape from a southern prison. At first, the two despise each other and are constantly on the verge of starting an all-out brawl, but through a series of harrowing encounters and stiff situations, they are able to transcend their deeply rooted prejudices to develop a firm friendship.

Round Two of Poitier let me see a different, blazingly brilliant facet of a man who clearly understood everything about bringing nuanced life to a character. His white costar, Tony Curtis, proves he is able to hold his own against the legend, displaying a strong screen presence and fierce delivery. And Kramer's passionate hand directs this piece into deep, affecting territory with tremendous skill, proving once again that he's our guy when it comes to tearing down racism.

Anyway, that's my opinion of the movie as fast I could give it. This was my second chain-gang film from the list , but when I compare it to I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1933), I have such a tough time picking a favorite. Each has something different and stirring to offer...this is one I'm just going to have to sleep on.

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