o/t: a great man

I must be the last person on the planet to realize that Sidney Poitier is 90 today. Happy birthday to the great man!

I was thinking to myself that it was a shame he made so few movies of noirish interest, but then I went and checked in my Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir and discovered there were more references to him than I’d remembered:

  • NO WAY OUT (1950)
  • EDGE OF THE CITY (1957)
  • The DEFIANT ONES (1958)
  • PRESSURE POINT (1962)
  • HANKY PANKY (1982)
  • SHOOT TO KILL (1988)

I really cannot now understand why I didn’t give an entry to In the Heat of the Night (1967) and its two sequels; even though they’re not noir they’re obviously of very strong associational interest. In the remote event of the book going into a second edition, I’ll obviously include them.

Probably my favorite of all the movies of his that I’ve seen is Lilies of the Field (1963), in which he plays an itinerant handyman who befriends a destitute immigre community of Eastern European nuns. I must at some point persuade myself, on however spurious a premise, that this movie has been *koff* sufficiently influential on the film noir genre as to deserve a writeup here.

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8 thoughts on “o/t: a great man

      • True, but you’ve also mentioned quite a few in passing and several more film cultures – Korea for example – have become more widely available in the last few years and the more noir films you see – OK – I see – the more films turn out to have associational interest…

        • That’s about it. 🙂 There are whole swags of neonoirs that might vie for inclusion, including from Asia (in addition to the opening up of Korea, there’s the way that HK has discovered noir, etc.), and there’s certainly the odd thing I missed, as noted here, but . . .

          The whole thing’s moot anyway, unless I go for some kind of online approach like my friends have at The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

  1. He won his Academy Award for that irresistible turn in LILLIES, but I always thought his excellent in THE DEFIANT ONES, TO SIR WITH LOVE, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT.

    • To be honest, I can’t recall seeing him be ever much less than excellent in anything; even in the couple of movies of his that I’ve seen that were mediocre — usually late-career stuff — he himself was fine.

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