Hello Everyone! This week 3 Chics is featuring the life and works of Sir Sidney Poitier. Mr. Poitier is a man of dignity, grace, a man of enormous courage and conviction, who in my opinion, never sold out to Hollywood.
We’ll be featuring his movies, some trailers, and some full length. We hope you enjoy them.
Sir Sidney Poitier, KBE (/ˈpwɑːtjeɪ/ or /ˈpwɑːti.eɪ/; born February 20, 1927), is a Bahamian-American actor, film director, author and diplomat.
In 1964, Poitier became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, for his role in Lilies of the Field. The significance of this achievement was bolstered in 1967 when he starred in three successful films, all of which dealt with issues involving race: To Sir, with Love; In the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, making him the top box-office star of that year. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Poitier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking 22nd on the list of 25.
Poitier has directed a number of films, including A Piece of the Action, Uptown Saturday Night, Let’s Do It Again (with friend Bill Cosby), Stir Crazy (starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder) and Ghost Dad (also with Cosby). In 2002, thirty-eight years after receiving the Best Actor Award, Poitier was chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Honorary Award, in recognition of his “remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being.” From 1997 to 2007, he served as Bahamian ambassador to Japan. On August 12, 2009, Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama.
Sidney Poitier’s parents were Evelyn (née Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, Bahamian farmers who owned a farm on Cat Island and traveled to Miami to sell tomatoes and other produce. Reginald worked as a cab driver in Nassau, Bahamas. Poitier was born in Miami while his parents were visiting. His birth was two months premature and he was not expected to survive, but his parents remained in Miami for three months to nurse him to health. Poitier grew up in the Bahamas (then a British colony) but, because of his birth in the United States, he automatically gained American citizenship. Poitier’s uncle has claimed that the Poitier ancestors on his father’s side had migrated from Haiti and were probably part of the runaway slaves who had established maroon communities throughout the Bahamas, including Cat Island. He mentions that the surname Poitier is a French name, and there were no white Poitiers from the Bahamas.
Poitier lived with his family on Cat Island until he was 10, when they moved to Nassau. He was raised a Roman Catholic but, later became an agnostic with views closer to deism.
At the age of 15 he was sent to Miami to live with his brother. At the age of 17, he moved to New York City and held a string of jobs as a dishwasher. A Jewish waiter sat with him every night for several weeks helping him learn to read the newspaper. He then decided to join the United States Army after which he worked as a dishwasher until a successful audition landed him a spot with the American Negro Theatre.
Poitier joined the American Negro Theater, but was rejected by audiences. Contrary to what was expected of African American actors at the time, Poitier’s tone deafness made him unable to sing. Determined to refine his acting skills and rid himself of his noticeable Bahamian accent, he spent the next six months dedicating himself to achieving theatrical success. On his second attempt at the theater, he was noticed and given a leading role in the Broadway production Lysistrata, for which he received good reviews. By the end of 1949, he had to choose between leading roles on stage and an offer to work for Darryl F. Zanuck in the film No Way Out (1950). His performance in No Way Out, as a doctor treating a Caucasian bigot (played by Richard Widmark), was noticed and led to more roles, each considerably more interesting and more prominent than those most African American actors of the time were offered. Poitier’s breakout role was as a member of an incorrigible high school class in Blackboard Jungle (1955).
No Way Out is a 1950 black-and-white American film noir directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and starring Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, Stephen McNally and Sidney Poitier (in his feature film debut), who portrays a doctor tending to slum residents whose ethics are tested when confronted with racism, personified by Richard Widmark as the hateful robber Ray Biddle.
Dr. Luther Brooks (Sidney Poitier), an intern who has just passed the state board examination to qualify for his license to practice, is the first African-American doctor at the urban county hospital at which he trained. Because he lacks self-confidence, Luther requests to work as a junior resident at the hospital for another year. Johnny (Dick Paxton) and Ray Biddle (Richard Widmark), brothers who were both shot in the leg by a policeman as they attempted a robbery, are brought to the hospital’s prison ward. As Luther tends to the disoriented Johnny, he is bombarded with racist slurs by Ray, who grew up in Beaver Canal, the white working class section of the city. Believing that Johnny has a brain tumor, Luther administers a spinal tap, but Johnny dies during the procedure. Wondering if Ray’s antagonism may have caused him to be careless, Luther consults his mentor, chief medical resident Dr. Daniel Wharton (Stephen McNally), and Wharton concedes that a brain tumor was only one possibility. Feeling that he must prove the accuracy of his diagnosis, Luther requests an autopsy, but Wharton informs him that according to state law, they cannot proceed without the permission of the deceased’s family. When Ray refuses, as he does not want his brother’s body to be cut up, Wharton confers with the head of the hospital, Dr. Sam Moreland (Stanley Ridges), about requisitioning an autopsy.
Moreland, aware that a scandal over the black doctor’s actions could endanger funding, denies the request in the hope that the incident will be forgotten. Upon learning from police records that Johnny was married, Wharton and Luther visit his widow, Edie Johnson (Linda Darnell), who tells the doctors that she divorced Johnny a year and a half ago, and that she hates his whole family. Although she does not reveal it to Wharton, his sympathetic attitude persuades her to visit Ray to ask about the autopsy. Ray tells her, however, that Johnny would be alive if he had had a white doctor, and that Wharton wants to have the autopsy to cover up the truth about Luther’s actions.
Edie’s racist feelings are revived by Ray, with whom she had committed adultery, and he convinces her that Wharton played her for a “chump,” and that she can make up for her past infidelity to Johnny by contacting Beaver Canal club owner Rocky Miller (Bert Freed) and telling him about Johnny’s death. Accompanied by Ray’s other brother George (Harry Bellaver), who is deaf, Edie goes to the club, where Rocky and his pals lay plans to attack the black section of town, which they call “Niggertown.”
NO WAY OUT- Part 1-11
For Love of Ivy
For Love of Ivy is a 1968 romantic comedy film directed by Daniel Mann. The film stars Sidney Poitier, Abbey Lincoln, Beau Bridges, Nan Martin, Lauri Peters and Carroll O’Connor. The story was written by Sidney Poitier with screenwriter Robert Alan Arthur. The musical score was composed by Quincy Jones. The theme song “For Love of Ivy”, written by Quincy Jones and Bob Russell, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The film received Golden Globe supporting acting nominations for Beau Bridges and Abbey Lincoln.
Ivy Moore, an African-American maid, age 26, has worked for the Austin family for nine years, after arriving from Florida where she was raised by her grandmother. Despite being treated as a part of the family, she announces her decision to leave her job and go to secretarial school in order to improve her situation.
The Austins are desperate to keep her, and the teenagers, Gena and Tim, hatch a scheme to do so. Tim Austin sets up Ivy with Jack Parks, a trucking company executive, to wine and dine Ivy. He hopes that the introduction of excitement in her life will dissuade her from leaving the family.
Tim persuades a reluctant Parks to date Ivy, and applies pressure by threatening to reveal his illegal gambling casino, which operates at night in the back of a large long-distance truck.
Their initial meetings are awkward for the cosmopolitan Parks and the less sophisticated Moore, as they go to a Japanese restaurant and a bohemian nightclub in Manhattan. Eventually, however, romance blossoms, but when Moore learns that Parks was coerced into initially dating her, she breaks up with him.
Parks overcomes his attachment to swinging bachelorhood and asks Moore to leave with him for New York City. She accepts. As they do so, they witness the illegal casino, which Parks had handed over to his partner, being pulled over by police and the operators arrested.