When you mention the name Sidney Poitier, many film fans will remember fondly To Sir, with Love or Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. These were groundbreaking films for many reasons, not least for the way in which they solidified Poitier’s place as a black icon. In these times, the world has seen afresh the challenges faced by people of colour in the United States and other western nations. There is nothing new in this struggle. Poitier’s acting roles of the 1960s created a particular dilemma for him. Except for one or two decisions, he carefully selected characters which would reflect his own life experience, struggles and desire for radical change.
Over the decades, he has become a somewhat reluctant icon, put on a pedestal by a generation of black celebrities and film stars for choosing roles that gave both black and white Americans an alternative picture of society. Too perfect for some, too imperfect for others, his work attracted critical opinion that was as differentiated as black is to white.This book takes a look at Poitier’s early life and work in the 1960s and early 70s, the people who influenced his career and a fascinating sample of the contemporary critical views.
In the beginning Poitier was a supporting actor in films with Hollywood stars such as Clark Gable and Tony Curtis. In 1964 he won an Oscar as Best Actor in Lilies of the Field. A few years later he was in the box office hit Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, co-starring with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Five years after that he was the first-time film director of a ground-breaking Western, Buck and the Preacher. The transition from popular Black actor to acceptance as a director was challenging. As an actor-director he had multiple hits in the 1970s with Uptown Saturday Night, Let's Do It Again and A Piece of the Action. His biggest hit was Stir Crazy in 1981 starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. The Sidney Poitier-directed film eventually grossed almost a $100 million in American theaters alone.
Philip Powers' book Sidney Poitier: Black and White explores the events in the sixties in the United States where Poitier was occasionally a minor player, where Poitier was a teenage bystander for many years as his life was swept up in black-white confrontations. It looks at the people in Hollywood - like director Stanley Kramer - who were responsible for addressing the big issues of the period. It explores the lives of people Poitier knew well and worked with in the volatile environment of that period in America. It describes the racism Poitier endured when he couldn't eat in certain restaurants or stay in particular hotels. When a policeman put the muzzle of a gun to Poitier's forehead and threatened to shoot him.
As part of Poitier's journey he became involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s lending his supporting to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He worked with his friend Harry Belafonte, a pop superstar, who marched with Dr. King on many occasions, to demand societal change for African Americans. Black and White explores these events using the words of the media to illustrate Poitier's journey from a poor black boy to a black icon, an inspiration to millions of black people who didn't know it could be done.
- ASIN : B08RCJDV8D
- Publisher : Independently published (December 27, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 465 pages
- ISBN-13 : 979-8567638712
- Item Weight : 1.5 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.17 x 9 inches
All copies are new.