Sidney Poitier was Hollywood’s first black actor – but beyond that he was an amazing, brilliant actor.
Sidney Poitier was an exceptional talent. Without much fanfare, he caught the audience’s attention. He had that aura that makes a true movie star – the aura of charisma that predetermined him to take on roles.
Poitier was the first dark-skinned man to take on heavy, challenging roles in major Hollywood studio productions.
In his first film, the excellent thriller No Way Out from 1950, Poitier made a strong impression: He played a doctor who had to take care of a racist gang. In doing so, Poitier personified the inner struggles with which his character struggled in a masterful way.
way to fame
In 1955, Poitier’s reputation was solidified by his role in the stunning social drama “Blackboard Jungle” – one of the first Hollywood films to feature rock ‘n’ roll. In 1958, the action movie “The Defiant Ones” followed the escape of two bound defendants, one white and one black.
Since then, the name Poitier has regularly appeared on the posters above the title of the film: the audience came to the cinema to watch it. And the quality of films did not deteriorate: Feelgood’s melodramatic “Lilies in the Sun” (1963) won an Oscar.
Shepherd in the face of injustice
Poitier’s other strong films are the love story Blue Spot (1965) and the southern crime thriller In the Heat of the Night (1967). Poitier found his way into his showman role: decent men of integrity who react to unequal treatment or exclusion not with malice, but with understanding.
Poitier personified that resilience and devotion with a natural force. The black audience loved getting to know their characters, and the white audience showed solidarity without any problems. Even in somewhat opposing roles, Sidney Poitier always had the audience on his side.
Movies are the same
Poitier did not completely agree with this clean picture: in the second half of his career he would have liked to play more ambiguous characters. However, at the same time, he was aware that his image as an audience favorite was related to his involvement in the race issue.
Then, by the 1970s, Poitier began appearing more often in unimportant films – he remained a star, but appeared in commercial films often that looked like batches of his earlier successes.
Worship movie behind the camera
Poitier developed the second prop and became a film director – in the field of comedy. His nine directing works between 1972 and 1990 have been largely forgotten, but one of them is a cult classic: “Stir Crazy” from 1980, with comedians Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder. Sidney Poitier gave his representatives plenty of room for improvisation.
It all worked: in retrospect, the hilarious high-speed comedy is one of the funniest American films of this era. And speaking of Poitier as director, the anarchic duo of Brewer Wilder hasn’t worked as brilliantly as here.