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The Green Pastures (1936)

 -  Drama  -  1 August 1936 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 495 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 18 critic

God, heaven, and several Old Testament stories, including the Creation and Noah's Ark, are described supposedly using the perspective of rural, black Americans.

Writers:

(suggested by: Southern Sketches "Ol' Man Adam and His Chillun'"), (a fable by), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
De Lawd / Adam / Hezdrel
Oscar Polk ...
...
Noah (as Eddie Anderson)
Frank H. Wilson ...
Moses (as Frank Wilson)
George Reed ...
Mr. Deshee
Abraham Gleaves ...
Archangel
Myrtle Anderson ...
Eve
Al Stokes ...
Edna Mae Harris ...
Zeba (as Edna M. Harris)
James Fuller ...
Cain the Sixth
George Randol ...
High Priest
Ida Forsyne ...
Ray Martin ...
Charles Andrews ...
Flatfoot (as Chas. Andrews)
Dudley Dickerson ...
Ham
Edit

Storyline

God, heaven, and several Old Testament stories, including the Creation and Noah's Ark, are described supposedly using the perspective of rural, black Americans. Written by Allen Brown <browna@ohsu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 August 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Auf grüner Aue  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The studio's anxiety about "The Green Pastures" all-Black cast is evident in the film's 3:48 minute trailer. It consists of white actor Dick Powell talking directly to the camera, white workers preparing costumes and props, and author Marc Connelly explaining the rationale for the bare sets to a studio executive. Accrding to Connelley it is how a "simple, devout" people would imagine heaven. At no time are Rex Ingram or any of the film's stars shown in the preview and there is only a brief sequence of black extras in a long shot. See more »

Goofs

When Noah is loading animals onto the ark, 4 sheep enter, not 2. Genesis 7:2 says that Noah was to board 2 of every "unclean" animal and 7 of every "clean" animal. Sheep are considered "clean." See more »

Quotes

Gabriel: Gangway for the lord god, Jehovah!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Heaven (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sweet movie that stands the test of time.
11 February 2006 | by (Huntington, NY) – See all my reviews

When you pop either THE GREEN PASTURES or HALLELUJAH in your DVD player, Warner Brothers' disclaimer comes up, stating these films "are a product of their time.... it does not express Warner Brothers' opinion....." Okay, they're setting the record straight. They want to present two excellent movies, without offending anyone. The "warning" is eclipsed by two factors. These two films, both with all black casts, showcase amazing talent often smothered by the then Hollywood studio system. They also both carry a message of faith told in a very entertaining manner.

THE GREEN PASTURES opens with a Sunday School sermon in the deep south. The classroom is made up of attentive black children asking some pretty intelligent questions about the Bible. We peek into one child's view of heaven. Since this child probably knows very little of the world outside her community, heaven is one big fish-fry with plenty to eat, where the adults get to hangout and smoke ten-cent "see-gars".

It's here where God (referred to in the film as "De Lawd") makes an appearance. This is an Oscar worthy performance by Rex Ingram, one of many black actors at the time who seldom received decent film work from Hollywood. Ingram plays "De Lawd" in a sweet, soft-spoken manner, never talking down to the humans he created. "Now you're just doing fine," he tells Adam. "But there's just one thing missing. You need a family." Ingram's quiet tone always tells us this guy has things in order. Film fans may remember Rex Ingram as Jim in HUCKLEBERRY FINN (1939) and as the laughing, constantly sarcastic genie in THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1940). Not only was Ingram an accomplished stage actor, but he was a certified MD as well!

Ingram also plays Adam and Hezdrel. During the later performance, GREEN PASTURES most memorable time-tested message comes across very simply. We realize this is truly a cinematic classic. The Bible stories are depicted here in pseudo 20th century settings with old world behavior. (Much like the villages in the first three FRANKENSTEIN films) Moses is a modern-day "trickster" who gives Pharaoh's top magician a run for his money. In another scene, a pistol packing gangster in a double breasted suit mouths off to Noah.


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