Friday, March 13, 2009

Box Set Review: The Sidney Poitier Collection

The Sidney Poitier Collection could have easily been called Sophistication in a Box: Sidney Poitier, or Awesomeness Redefined: Sidney Poitier or my personal favorite: Sidney Poitier Therapy, . They could have just put Sidney Poitier's likeness on the box and had no text at all, and people would know they were in for a treat.

Released during this year's Black History Month, The Sidney Poitier collection highlights this legendary actor in all his glory. Poitier is classy and sophisticated and shines in any role he is given. It is very possible that they could have thrown his worst films in this set and it still would have worked. Instead they assembled a set of 4 gems. This box set contains 4 of his films, 3 of which are new to DVD and all of which are exclusive to the set.


Edge of the City (1957) - Gripping drama about the meaning of friendship. Sidney Poitier plays Tommy, a dock manager who befriends wayward newcomer Axel (John Cassavetes). Axel has a lot of baggage and is trying to get his life back on track by lying about his past. Tommy senses something's wrong and takes Axel under his wing. Their interracial friendship angers increasingly volatile dock manager Charles (Jack Warden). Their friendship is put to the test when it becomes clear Charles wants revenge. This film gets poor reviews, but I thought it was excellent. It's very moving and the final scene is raw and vivid.



A Patch of Blue (1965) - One of my all-time favorite films. Poitier plays journalist Gordon Ralfe, who befriends a young blind woman Selina D'Arcy (Elizabeth Hartmann in her first role). Selina comes from the most dire of circumstances. She has no proper education, no father and her blindness was caused by a cruel accident. She lives in a hovel with her drunk grandfather and hateful mother, Rose (Shelley Winters) who dabbles in prostituion. With Gordon's help, Selina learns the joys of life and becomes more independent, threatening the hold her mother has over her. This one movie is worth the purchase of box set!



Something of Value (1957) - Two young men, of different races, grow up together in 1940's Nigeria. Soon they both learn, that even their close bond could not prevent the inevitable divide that race, society and religion creates between them. Insulted by a white settler, Kimani (Sidney Poitier) becomes vengeful against the settler and his white friend Peter (Rock Hudson). The final straw comes when Kimani's father is put in prison for performing a tribal ritual. Kimani becomes a member of a violent tribe, Mau Mau and Peter finds himself fighting a war against his friend. This is the first classic film I've seen which actually criticizes white, Christian presence in Africa. The film is violent and difficult to watch, but absolutely necessary!



A Warm December (1973) - Melancholy love story of foreigners abroad. Poitier plays widower Dr. Matt Younger, who takes his daughter Stacey on an extended vacation to England. There he sees Catherine (Esther Anderson), a mysterious and elusive beauty who is being chased along the streets of London by mysterious men. Intrigued by her, he helps her out only to have her slip away. Appearances are deceiving and Dr. Younger gets into more than he's bargained for. This is such a sweet movie yet very sad. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good weepy romance.

Purchasing Links
(Because this would look so HOT in your DVD collection)
Barnes & Noble - Borders - TCM Store - Warner Bros. Home Video Store - Amazon

11 comments:

  1. I love A Patch of Blue and I consider it one of my all-time favorite. Sidney is so compassionate and kind in that movie and that was the second movie I saw with Sidney. I would definitely buy the Sidney Poitier because he's just that cool. ;)

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  2. It's not that I'm not into the awesomeness of Poitier, but the only movie in this set I really want for my collection is Edge of the City, an early effort from one of my favorite directors, Marty Ritt. Why this movie gets poor reviews is a mystery to me; I think both Sidney and John Cassavetes turn in first-rate performances.

    Maybe the Cinema Gods will smile down on me and TCM will run this one soon. The only time I ever saw it was in that crappy colorized version.

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  3. Sophistication indeed. I must have this collection. It's funny, I was just watching Stir Crazy, which Poitier directed and is a far cry from the sophistcated films he often starred in. I would especially like to have Edge of the City.

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  4. I'm not usually a 1970's movie fan, but you've sold me on A Warm December... Netflix, here I come.

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  5. I have always had a soft spot for Edge of the City myself. It's not a perfect film, but there is quite a bit that's worthwhile in it.

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  6. Nicole - Yes, I fell in love with Sidney Poitier when I watched A Patch of Blue and have yet to fall out of love with him. I'm glad that film is one of your all-time favorites too!

    Ivan - Oh I do hope you get to see Edge of the City again and soon. Colorized version! Bleh. This movie works so well in black & white.

    Robby - If you get the set let me know what you think! :-)

    Kate - I'm guessing you like weepy romances? :-) There is some 70's cheesiness in the movie, but not too much to deter one from enjoying the movie.

    Mercurie - I agree, it has it's flaws but the film is worthwhile. I think it would make a good double feature with On the Waterfront.

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  7. I've finally got a little time to sit down and leisurely read your post and watch the trailers.

    The only one of these I've seen is A Patch of Blue. I adore Sidney Poitier, though, and seek out all his films. He's one of those actors that guarantees a film will be good, just by his presence.

    Edge of the City looks really good. It seems to have some of the feel of On The Waterfront. Something of Value seems fascinating, even just for the aspect of Sidney and Rock Hudson being the same film. And A Warm December! That sounds amazing! Sidney Poitier, romance and England! Sign me up! (even if it is weepy) :)

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  8. TCM owes you some compensation, Raquelle:P. You are a very effective promotor and champion of classic films.

    Something of Value peeked my interest.

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  9. Casey - I'm glad you like A Patch of Blue. :-)

    Nik - No compensation needed. I live for this stuff.

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  10. Interesting post! I've bookmarked all films! Except for A Warm December, can't find that one...

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  11. Thanks Lolita. Let me know what you think of them when you see them.

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