Cry, the Beloved Country (1951 film)
|Cry, the Beloved Country|
U.S. theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Zoltán Korda|
|Produced by||Zoltan Korda
|Written by||Alan Paton (novel & screenplay)
John Howard Lawson (screenplay) originally uncredited
|Music by||Raymond Gallois-Montbrun|
|Edited by||David Eady|
|Distributed by||British Lion Films (UK)
Lopert Pictures through United Artists (US)
|23 January 1952 (US)
25 April 1952 (UK)
|Box office||£95,433 (UK)|
Cry, the Beloved Country is a 1951 British drama film directed by Zoltán Korda. Based on the novel of the same name by Alan Paton, it stars Canada Lee, Sidney Poitier, and Charles Carson. This film was Canada Lee's last film.
In the back country of South Africa, black minister Stephen Kumalo (Canada Lee) journeys to the city to search for his missing son, Absolom, only to find his people living in squalor and Absolom a criminal after committing murder. Kumalo's friend and fellow minister, Reverend Misimangu (Sidney Poitier), is a young South African clergyman who helps find Kumalo's sons and sister-turned-prostitute in the slums of Johannesburg. Both work together to confront the harsh reality of apartheid and what it is doing to both white and black South Africans.
- Canada Lee as Stephen Kumalo
- Sidney Poitier as Reverend Msimangu
- Charles Carson as James Jarvis
- Joyce Carey as Mrs. Jarvis
- Geoffrey Keen as Father Vincent
- Michael Goodliffe as Martens
- Edric Connor as John Kumalo
- Lionel Ngakane as Absolom
- Vivien Clinton as Mary
- Albertina Temba as Mrs. Kumalo
- Charles McRae as Kumalo's friend
- Ribbon Dhlamini as Gertrude Kumalo
Zoltan Korda's acclaimed smash film was shot entirely in South Africa. Since the country was ruled by strict apartheid (enforced racial separation) laws, stars Sidney Poitier and Canada Lee and producer/director Korda cooked up a scheme where they told the South African immigration authorities that Poitier and Lee were not actors but were Korda's indentured servants; otherwise, the two black actors and the white director could have been arrested, and jailed without trial. It marked the first time a major film was shot in the racially divided country, leading to serious exposure of the terrible conditions there. After the making of this film, Canada Lee planned to make a full report about life in South Africa: he was then called to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee to explain his actions, but died of heart failure before he could testify.
The film was well received by critics, and currently hold a 100% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Those praising the film included Bosley Crowther in the New York Times who stated "It is difficult to do proper justice to the fine qualities of this film or to the courage and skill of Mr. Korda in transmitting such a difficult and sobering theme."
- Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p498
- "Cry, The Beloved Country". BFI Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
- "2nd Berlin International Film Festival: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2009-12-22.
- "Festival de Cannes: Cry, the Beloved Country". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-01-17.