Film Forum Announces 4-Week Festival Featuring Sidney Poitier, Black Actors

Sidney Poitier (1927-2022) had a career (that included directing) spanning six decades.
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Photos: Film Forum\Twitter

SIDNEY POITIER & HIS TRAILBLAZING CONTEMPORARIES, a four-week, 42-film festival paying tribute to both the late actor and lesser-known actors of his own generation, will run at Film Forum from April 1 through April 28.

The series, originally planned for 2020 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Poitier’s film debut (in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s No Way Out), includes Poitier classics like In the Heat of the Night, The Defiant Ones, Raisin in the Sun, Blackboard Jungle, A Patch of Blue, Paris Blues, and many others, along with films featuring contemporaries like James Edwards, Juano Hernandez, Canada Lee, Frederick O’Neal, Ivan Dixon, Frank Silvera, Brock Peters, William Marshall, and many others.

The series is a sequel to Film Forum’s 2019 Black Women festival.

The first major Black male movie star of his generation and the first to win an Oscar for Best Actor (for Lilies of the Field), Sidney Poitier (1927-2022) had a career (that included directing) spanning six decades. But there was little room for other Black stars in 1950s and ‘60s Hollywood. Poitier’s enormous popularity paved the way for the Black actors who followed him, though, with perhaps the exception of Harry Belafonte (a super-star in his own right), the actors of his own generation had fewer opportunities.

Says author, film historian and festival programmer Donald Bogle, “Poitier almost singlehandedly changed Hollywood’s image of Black America, and few other Black film stars have had as significant impact on Black audiences. For a time, Poitier answered the needs of both Black America and Hollywood. The Poitier image would further evolve in the 1970s, the age of Blaxploitation cinema with its highly charged heroes. He turned to directing and starring in more personal movies geared to the Black audience yet which often proved to be mainstream hits: the rousing Buck and the Preacher; the tender romance A Warm December; and the all-star comedy Uptown Saturday Night.”

Continues Mr. Bogle, “Joining Poitier—in contributing to a significant change in Black film representation -- were other important actors: Ivan Dixon in Nothing But A Man; the groundbreaking James Edwards in Home of the Brave; the iconic Puerto-Rican-born Juano Hernandez in Intruder in the Dust; the quietly resilient Canada Lee in Cry, the Beloved Country; among many others. Ultimately, the sometimes overlooked performances of Poitier’s contemporaries proved to be stunning, complex, and powerful—and along with Poitier altered the face of American movies.”

Donald Bogle is the award-winning African American film historian, teacher, lecturer, and author of nine books on Black images in American motion pictures and television, including his seminal Tom, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films, the first major study of African American images in American motion pictures. Mr. Bogle’s other books include Prime Time Blues (a history of Blacks on television); Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood; Brown Sugar: Over 100 Years of America’s Black Female Superstars; Dorothy Dandridge, the definitive biography of the Black movie star; and Hollywood Black: The Stars, The Films, The Filmmakers (a TCM Film Book). Select screenings will be introduced by Mr. Bogle, with other special guests and events planned.

SIDNEY POITIER & HIS TRAILBLAZING CONTEMPORARIES has been programmed by Donald Bogle and Bruce Goldstein, Film Forum’s Director of Repertory Programming.

Public Screening Schedule:

Names of actors spotlighted in series are boldfaced.

NO WAY OUT

U.S., 1950

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Starring Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, Sidney Poitier, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee

DCP. Approx. 106 min.

 

Friday, April 1 at 12:30

Saturday, April 2 at 2:45

Wednesday, April 6 at 4:45

EDGE OF THE CITY

U.S., 1957

Directed by Martin Ritt

Starring Sidney Poitier, John Cassavetes, Jack Warden

Story by Robert Alan Arthur

35mm. Approx. 85 min.

 

Friday, April 1 at 2:40

Sunday, April 3 at 7:25

Saturday, April 9 at 12:30

BLACKBOARD JUNGLE

U.S., 1955

Directed by Richard Brooks

Starring Glenn Ford, Sidney Poitier, Vic Morrow, Anne Francis

35mm. Approx. 101 min.

 

Friday, April 1 at 4:35

Saturday, April 2 at 12:30

Monday, April 4 at 5:15

Friday, April 15 at 7:10

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT

U.S., 1967

Directed by Norman Jewison

Starring Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates

Screenplay by Stirling Silliphant

DCP. Approx. 109 min.

 

Friday, April 1 at 8:30

Saturday, April 2 at 7:00

Friday, April 8 at 12:30

Sunday, April 10 at 6:10

Monday, April 25 at 2:45

THE DEFIANT ONES

U.S., 1958

Directed by Stanley Kramer

Starring Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Charles McGraw

35mm. Approx. 97 min.

 

Saturday, April 2 at 4:55

Wednesday, April 6 at 12:30 | 9:10

Sunday, April 10 at 8:30

Thursday, April 21 at 12:30

BLACULA

U.S., 1972

Directed by William Crain

Starring William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicholas, Thalmus Rasulala

Screenplay by Joan Torres and Raymond Koenig 3

5mm. Approx. 93 min.

 

Saturday, April 2 at 9:20

Tuesday, April 19 at 9:15

A RAISIN IN THE SUN

U.S., 1961

Directed by Daniel Petrie

Starring Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands, Ivan Dixon

Based on the play by Lorraine Hansberry

DCP. Approx. 128 min.

 

Sunday, April 3 at 11:00am | 4:45

Monday, April 4 at 2:35

LILIES OF THE FIELD

U.S., 1963

Directed by Ralph Nelson

Starring Sidney Poitier, Lilia Skala, Lisa Mann

Screenplay by James Poe

35mm. Approx. 94 min.

 

Sunday, April 3 at 1:40

Monday, April 4 at 12:30 | 7:25

THE KILLING

U.S., 1956

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Starring Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, James Edwards

Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick based on a novel by Lionel White

35mm. Approx. 84 min.

 

Sunday, April 3 at 9:20

Tuesday, April 5 at 9:30

Saturday, April 16 at 2:40

KILLER’S KISS

U.S., 1955

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Starring Frank Silvera, Irene Kane (aka Chris Chase), Jamie Smith, Jerry Jarrett

Screenplay by Howard Sackler

35mm. Approx. 67 min.

 

Monday, April 4 at 9:30

Saturday, April 16 at 1:00

Saturday, April 23 at 9:35

BRIGHT VICTORY

U.S., 1951

Directed by Mark Robson

Starring Arthur Kennedy, Julie Adams, James Edwards

Screenplay by Robert Buckner based on a novel by Baynard Kendrick

DCP. Approx. 97 min.

 

Tuesday, April 5 at 1:00 | 5:20

HOME OF THE BRAVE

U.S., 1949

Directed by Mark Robson

Starring James Edwards, Steve Brodie, Jeff Corey

Screenplay by Carl Foreman based on the play by Arthur Laurents

35mm print courtesy UCLA Film & Television Archive. Approx. 88 min.

 

Tuesday, April 5 at 3:10 | 7:30

PRESSURE POINT

U.S., 1962

Directed by Hubert Cornfield and Stanley Kramer

Starring Sidney Poitier, Bobby Darin, Peter Falk Screenplay by Hubert Cornfield and S. Lee Pogostin

Based on a story by Robert M. Linder

35mm. Approx. 91 min.

 

Wednesday, April 6 at 2:40 | 7:00

Friday, April 8 at 9:20

ANNA LUCASTA

U.S., 1958

Directed by Arnold Laven

Starring Eartha Kitt, Frederick O’ Neal

Screenplay by Philip Yordan

35mm. Approx. 97 min.

 

Thursday, April 7 at 12:30 | 5:10

PARIS BLUES

U.S., 1961

Directed by Martin Ritt

Starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Sidney Poitier, Diahann Carroll

Screenplay by Jack Sher, Irene Kamp, and Walter Bernstein

35mm. Approx. 98 min.

 

Friday, April 8 at 3:00 | 7:15

Friday, April 15 at 12:30

NOTHING BUT A MAN

U.S., 1964

Directed by Michael Roemer

Starring Ivan Dixon, Abbey Lincoln, Julius Harris, Gloria Foster

35mm. Approx. 95 min.

 

Friday, April 8 at 5:10

Monday, April 11 at 2:35

Sunday, April 17 at 5:20

Thursday, April 28 at 5:10

A WARM DECEMBER

U.S., 1973

Directed by Sidney Poitier

Written by Lawrence Roman

Starring Sidney Poitier, Ester Anderson, Yvette Curtis, George Baker

35mm. Approx. 101 min.

 

Saturday, April 9 at 2:30

Wednesday, April 13 at 12:30

ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW

U.S., 1959

Directed by Robert Wise

Starring Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame

Screenplay by Abraham Polonsky and Nelson Gidding

35mm. Approx. 96 min.

 

Saturday, April 9 at 5:20

Monday, April 18 at 1:00

CARMEN JONES

U.S., 1954

Directed by Otto Preminger

Starring Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey, Brock Peters, Roy Glenn

Screenplay by Harry Kleiner DCP.

Approx. 108min.

 

Saturday, April 9 at 7:30

Tuesday, April 12 at 2:25

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

U.S., 1962

Directed by Robert Mulligan

Starring Gregory Peck, Brock Peters

DCP. Approx. 129 min.

 

Sunday, April 10 at 11:00am | 3:25

A PATCH OF BLUE

U.S., 1965

Directed by Guy Green

Starring Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Hartman, Wallace Ford

Screenplay by Guy Green based on a novel by Elizabeth Kata

35mm. Approx. 95 min.

 

Monday, April 11 at 12:30 | 7:00

Friday, April 15 at 5:10

CAR WASH

U.S., 1976

Directed by Michael Schultz

Written by Joel Schumacher

Starring Richard Pryor, Franklin Ajaye, Bill Duke, Ivan Dixon

DCP. Approx. 97 min.

 

Monday, April 11 at 4:50 | 9:10

Friday, April 15 at 9:20

ONE POTATO, TWO POTATO

U.S., 1964

Directed by Larry Peerce

Starring Barbara Barrie, Bernie Hamilton, Richard Mulligan

Screenplay by Raphael Hayes and Orville H. Hampton

35mm. Approx. 115 min.

 

Tuesday, April 12 at 12:30 | 6:40

CLAUDINE

U.S., 1974

Directed by John Berry

Starring Diahann Carroll, James Earl Jones, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Tamu Blackwell

Screenplay by Tine Pine and Lester Pine

DCP. Approx. 92 min.

 

Tuesday, April 12 at 4:40

Saturday, April 23 at 12:30

Tuesday, April 26 at 2:45 | 9:20

MELINDA

U.S., 1972

Directed by Hugh A. Robertson

Starring Calvin Lockhart, Rosalind Cash, Vonetta McGee, Paul Stevens

Screenplay by Lonne Elder III, based on a story by Raymond Cistheri

35mm. Approx. 109 min.

 

Tuesday, April 12 at 8:35

Thursday, April 14 at 5:10

 

CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY

U.K., 1951

Directed by Zoltan Korda

Starring Sidney Poitier, Canada Lee, Charles Carson

Screenplay by John Howard Lawson DCP.

Approx. 103 min.

 

Wednesday, April 13 at 2:50 | 7:30

Thursday, April 14 at 12:30

Sunday, April 17 at 7:30

SOMETHING OF VALUE

U.S., 1957

Directed by Richard Brooks

Starring Rock Hudson, Sidney Poitier, Wendy Hiller, Juano Hernandez, William Marshall, Frederick O’Neal

Screenplay by Richard Brooks, based on the novel by Robert C. Ruark

35mm. Approx. 113 min.

 

Wednesday, April 13 at 5:10

Thursday, April 14 at 2:45 | 7:30

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER

U.S., 1967

Directed by Stanley Kramer

Starring Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Houghton

DCP. Approx.108 min.

 

Friday, April 15 at 2:40

Sunday, April 17 at 1:15

Thursday, April 21 at 2:45 | 6:25

SPARTACUS

U.S., 1960

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Starring Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Woody Strode

Screenplay by Dalton Trumbo, based on the novel by Peter Ustinov

DCP. Approx. 197 min.

 

Saturday, April 16 at 4:40

Tuesday, April 19 at 2:45

UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT

U.S., 1974

Directed by Sidney Poitier

Starring Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Harold Nicholas

35mm. Approx. 104 min.

 

Saturday, April 16 at 8:30

Wednesday, April 20 at 12:30 | 5:20

LOST BOUNDARIES

U.S., 1949

Directed by Alfred Werker

Starring Beatrice Pearson, Mel Ferrer, William Greaves

Screenplay by Eugene Ling

35mm print courtesy UCLA Film & Television Archive. Approx. 99 min.

 

Monday, April 18 at 3:10 | 7:40

MIRACLE IN HARLEM

U.S., 1948

Directed by Jack Kemp

Starring Sheila Guyse, William Greaves

35mm print courtesy Library of Congress. Approx. 70 min.

 

Monday, April 18 at 6:00

A SOLDIER’S STORY

U.S., 1984

Directed by Norman Jewison

Starring Howard E. Rollings Jr., Adolph Caesar, Denzel Washington, Robert Townsend

Screenplay by Charles Fuller

35mm. Approx. 101 min.


Tuesday, April 19 at 12:30 | 7:00

BUCK AND THE PREACHER

U.S., 1972

Directed by Sidney Poitier

Starring Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Cameron Mitchell

DCP. Approx. 102 min.

 

Wednesday, April 20 at 2:40 | 7:30

TO SIR, WITH LOVE

U.K., 1967

Directed by James Clavell

Starring Sidney Poitier, Judy Geeson

DCP. Approx. 105 min

 

Thursday, April 21 at 4:05 | 8:40

Sunday, April 24 at 11:00am | 5:20

INTRUDER IN THE DUST

U.S., 1949

Directed by Clarence Brown

Starring David Brian, Claude Jarman, Jr., Juano Hernandez

Screenplay by Ben Maddow and William Faulkner

35mm. Approx. 87 min.


Friday, April 22 at 12:30 | 7:00

YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN

U.S., 1950

Directed by Michael Curtiz

Starring Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, Juano Hernandez

Screenplay by Carl Foreman and Edmund H. North, based on a novel by Dorothy Baker

35mm. Approx. 112 min.

 

Friday, April 22 at 2:30 | 9:00

Sunday, April 24 at 7:35

SERGEANT RUTLEDGE

U.S., 1960

Directed by John Ford

Starring Jeffrey Hunter, Woody Strode, Constance Towers, Juano Hernandez

Screenplay by Willis Goldbeck, based on a novel by James Warner Bellah

35mm. Approx. 111 min.

 

Friday, April 22 at 4:45

Saturday, April 23 at 5:10

BODY AND SOUL

U.S., 1948

Directed by Robert Rosen

Starring John Garfield, Lilli Palmer, Anne Revere, Canada Lee, William Conrad

Digital. Approx. 104 min.

 

Saturday, April 23 at 2:45

Tuesday, April 26, at 4:45

LIFEBOAT

U.S., 1944

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Starring Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Walter Slezak, Canada Lee

Screenplay by Jo Swerling, based on a story by John Steinbeck

16mm. Approx. 97 min.

 

Saturday, April 23 at 7:25

Sunday, April 24 at 1:15

THE SCALPHUNTERS

U.S., 1968

Directed by Sydney Pollack

Written by William W. Norton

Starring Burt Lancaster, Shelley Winters, Telly Savalas, Ossie Davis

35mm. Approx. 105 min.

 

Monday, April 25 at 12:30 | 7:40

THE LOST MAN

U.S., 1969

Directed by Robert Alan Arthur

Starring Sidney Poitier, Joanna Shimkus, Al Freeman, Jr.

Screenplay by Robert Alan Arthur, based on a novel by F.L. Green

35mm. Approx. 122 min.

 

Monday, April 25 at 5:10

Wednesday, April 27 at 4:40

COTTON COMES TO HARLEM

U.S., 1970 Directed by Ossie Davis

Written by Chester Himes, Arnold Perl, Ossie Davis

Starring Godfrey Cambridge, Raymond St. Jacques, Calvin Lockhart, Judy Pace

35mm. Approx. 97 min.

 

Tuesday, April 26 at 12:30 | 7:10

UPTIGHT

U.S., 1968

Directed by Jules Dassin

Starring Raymond St. Jacques, Ruby Dee, Frank Silvera, Roscoe Lee Brown

Screenplay by Jules Dassin, Ruby Dee, and Julian Mayfield; based on the novel by Liam O’ Flaherty

Digital. Approx. 104 min.

 

Wednesday, April 27 at 1:00 | 8:25

Thursday, April 28 at 2:45

DUTCHMAN

U.K., 1966

Directed by Anthony Harvey

Starring Shirley Knight, Al Freeman, Jr., Frank Lieberman

Based on the play by Leroi Jones (Amiri Baraka)

35mm print courtesy British Film Institute. Approx. 55 min.


Wednesday, April 27 at 3:15 | 7:00

THE LIBERATION OF L.B. JONES

U.S., 1970

Directed by William Wyler

Starring Lee J. Cobb, Roscoe Lee Browne, Lola Falana, Fayard Nicholas

Screenplay by Stirling Silliphant based on a novel by Jesse Hill Ford

35mm. Approx. 102 min.


Thursday, April 28 at 12:30 | 7:20

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