I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Raisin In The Sun (1961)

Lorraine Hansberry's play was brought alive onscreen with Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands and Claudia MacNeil. The Younger family is a working poor African-American family living in Chicago. The whole family is waiting on insurance money left to them by their late patriarch. It is hoped that the money will elevate them out of their circumstances. Walter (Poitier) is a driver with big dreams. He has been talking with friends about opening up a liquor store, an idea that neither his wife Ruth (Dee) nor his mother Lena (MacNeil) is keen on. Beneatha (Sands), Walter's sister, flits from one thing to the other, but has dreams of being educated. She's dating a snob named George (Louis Gossett Jr.), but is intrigued by an African named Agasi (Ivan Dixon) who makes her think.

The money arrives, but Walter makes a bad decision with his portion. Lena's decision to take some of the money and put a down payment on a house in a predominately white neighborhood seems just as bad. The family finds themselves caught in the middle of going backwards or moving forward.

The movie is pretty faithful to the Broadway play. All of the actors do a fine job, including the late John Fiedler, who portrays a character who puts an offer to the family that may break them. Viewers used to seeing Louis Gossett Jr. bald, may be surprised to see the Oscar winner sporting hair in this film, as he also did in the film The Landlord (1970). Claudia MacNeil was in several films including Black Girl (1972) and The Last Angry Man (1959). Ivan Dixon was one of the prisoners on "Hogan's Heroes" (1966-1971), and he was featured in Car Wash (1976). Diana Sands was a good actress who was in The Landlord and a TV-movie "The Living End" (1972) alongside Mr. Gossett. She died too soon from cancer in 1973.

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