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Sir Sidney finally gets a TCM birthday salute!


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Sir Sidney Poitier, the American-born, Bahamian-bred film great, is 94 today. He and Sophia Loren are the only living actors on the American Film Institute's 1999 list of the top 50 greatest screen legends of all time. Poitier was the No. 22 male. Loren was No. 21 in the category of Top 25 Female Legends.
 
Since there's no Oscarfest on TCM this month, the cable channel will air two of his films tonight: "Lilies of the Field" (1963 at 8 p.m.) and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967 at 10 p.m.).
 
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Poitier was recently honored by Arizona State University, which named its film school after him. The actor's biggest connection to the state: "Lilies of the Field," the comedy/drama in which he played handyman Homer Smith -- a godsend to a group of immigrant nuns in the Arizona desert. Smith was persuaded by the willful Mother Superior (Lilia Skala, pictured below) to build a chapel for the townspeople.
 
 Produced and directed by Ralph Nelson (who would collaborate with Poitier again), the production was adapted by James Poe from the 1962 novel by William Edmund Barrett. The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Poitier), Best Supporting Actress (Skala), Best Adapted Screenplay (Poe) and Best Black-and-White Cinematography (Ernest Haller). 
 
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Poitier was the No. 1 box-office star for 1967 and headlined three hit films -- "To Sir, with Love," "In the Heat of the Night" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." Somehow, he didn't receive an Academy Award nomination for any of the films. The 40th annual Oscars ceremony was delayed two days -- to April 10, 1968 -- in the aftermath of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So Poitier was on hand to announce that his "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" co-star Katharine Hepburn had won the award for Best Actress (it was accepted by her friend George Cukor). Also, Poitier was there to congratulate his "In the Heat of the Night" co-star Rod Steiger on his Best Actor win. The two actors returned to the stage when "In the Heat of the Night" was named Best Picture.
 
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I love Poitier, what an exceptional human being. His book MEASURE OF A MAN is one of my favorite books & I keep a "loaner" copy to give away. 

I just saw the TCM tribute and am always a little offended by Donald Bogle's comment that Poitier was the "perfect black man", happily serving white culture. Bogle's statement always strikes me as racist, segregating.  Why can't we just see Poitier's roles as a "perfect man"?

Agree, A RAISIN IN THE SUN is a great movie, a great story but the cultural background of the people really doesn't matter.

The only time "color" matters to the story is if it matters to the charactors, making the conflict the plot point. Many movies use this simply to illustrate how ridiculous it is, like any other stereotype. The charactor has to be exceptional, likable for it to work successfully.

 

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48 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

The only time "color" matters to the story is if it matters to the charactors, making the conflict the plot point. Many movies use this simply to illustrate how ridiculous it is, like any other stereotype. The charactor has to be exceptional, likable for it to work successfully.

Poitier's skin color apparently mattered to a lot of people in the 1960s. Max Brooks, the son of Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks, once talked about how his mother received hate mail after she embraced Poitier at the 1964  Oscars. As a result, the younger Brooks said, Bancroft became obsessed with the idea that someone might harm young Max. She even accepted fewer film roles to be with her child as much as possible.

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4 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

 

Agree, A RAISIN IN THE SUN is a great movie, a great story but the cultural background of the people really doesn't matter.

Really?  Then if that were the case, there'd have been no need to have the visit by  JOHN FIEDLER'S  charactEr, would there?    ;) 

But there's a "Twilight Zone" moment here-----

Without knowing today's schedule, I was talking about the movie LILIES OF THE FIELD yesterday, and how I'd like to get my daughter to see it!  :o   But she's spending the weekend with her "squeeze"  and I don't think he has access to TCM.  :(

Sepiatone

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14 hours ago, jakeem said:
Sir Sidney Poitier, the American-born, Bahamian-bred film great, is 94 today. He and Sophia Loren are the only living actors on the American Film Institute's 1999 list of the top 50 greatest screen legends of all time. Poitier was the No. 22 male. Loren was No. 21 in the category of Top 25 Female Legends.
 
Since there's no Oscarfest on TCM this month, the cable channel will air two of his films tonight: "Lilies of the Field" (1963 at 8 p.m.) and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967 at 10 p.m.).
 
Related image
 
Poitier was recently honored by Arizona State University, which named its film school after him. The actor's biggest connection to the state: "Lilies of the Field," the comedy/drama in which he played handyman Homer Smith -- a godsend to a group of immigrant nuns in the Arizona desert. Smith was persuaded by the willful Mother Superior (Lilia Skala, pictured below) to build a chapel for the townspeople.
 
 Produced and directed by Ralph Nelson (who would collaborate with Poitier again), the production was adapted by James Poe from the 1962 novel by William Edmund Barrett. The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Poitier), Best Supporting Actress (Skala), Best Adapted Screenplay (Poe) and Best Black-and-White Cinematography (Ernest Haller). 
 
See the source image
 
Poitier was the No. 1 box-office star for 1967 and headlined three hit films -- "To Sir, with Love," "In the Heat of the Night" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." Somehow, he didn't receive an Academy Award nomination for any of the films. The 40th annual Oscars ceremony was delayed two days -- to April 10, 1968 -- in the aftermath of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So Poitier was on hand to announce that his "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" co-star Katharine Hepburn had won the award for Best Actress (it was accepted by her friend George Cukor). Also, Poitier was there to congratulate his "In the Heat of the Night" co-star Rod Steiger on his Best Actor win. The two actors returned to the stage when "In the Heat of the Night" was named Best Picture.
 

Three Favourite Roles of His ..

_

Patch of Blue.

Defiant Ones.

Lilies of Filed,.

- --

ALL .. ... Pretty Much +10/10 ,..in my book ...

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I like "In the Heat of the Night," particularly the early morning interrogation scene in which Virgil Tibbs (Poitier) explains that he was waiting at the Sparta, Mississippi train station for the "4:05 to Memphis." Police Chief Bill Gillespie (Oscar-winner Rod Steiger) doesn't believe him -- at first.

 

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Just want to mention here that these two exceptional actors would both star a year later in the taut drama The Slender Thread.

(...and one of my favorites of Mr. Poitier's...and of Miss Bancroft's, for that matter)

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Well, I enjoyed seeing LILIES OF THE FIELD last night.  I like many of the movies Poitier either starred or appeared in, but for some reason, this one tops the list.  I'll try my damndest to see it whenever it gets any TV schedule,  and never tire of it.  Not since first seeing it on TV in 1965.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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18 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Well, I enjoyed seeing LILIES OF THE FIELD last night.  I like many of the movies Poitier either starred or appeared in, but for some reason, this one tops the list.  I'll try my damndest to see it whenever it gets any TV schedule,  and never tire of it.  Not since first seeing it on TV in 1965.  ;) 

Sepiatone

I also like Poitier's other screen collaborations with director Ralph Nelson. Poitier played an ex-Buffalo Soldier and James Garner an ex-scout in the 1966 Western "Duel at Diablo," the story of a growing conflict in Utah between U.S. cavalrymen and hostile Apaches.  A photo of Poitier's character was used for the dust jacket of the actor's first autobiography, "This Life" (1980).

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Poitier and Sir Michael Caine starred in the 1975 thriller "The Wilby Conspiracy," which focused on apartheid in South Africa. Filmed in Kenya, the drama featured Poitier as a black activist and Caine as a British mining engineer forced to flee together from South African authorities. Nicol Williamson played a national security officer determined to track them down. 
 
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