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The Green Pastures (1936)

Approved | | Drama | 1 August 1936 (USA)
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)
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Cast

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

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:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Recreated on the radio show "Cavalcade of America" in 1940 and 1941, with Juano Hernandez as De Lawd. See more »

Goofs

One of Noah's son's rides a zebra that is clearly a donkey or mule made to look like a zebra. Two real zebras are loaded while he rides the fake. See more »

Quotes

Gabriel: Gangway for the lord god, Jehovah!
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Connections

Version of BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: The Green Pastures (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

My God Is So High
(uncredited)
Traditional spiritual
Performed by the Hall Johnson Choir
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User Reviews

Enjoyable when viewed in context
14 January 2013 | by See all my reviews

Before I get into the film itself, here's the little known back-story. Roark Bradford, a white Tennesseean, was mesmerized as a boy by the sermons of a black preacher named John Wesley Henning (aka "Preacher Wes). Rev. Henning entertained and educated his audiences with imaginative biblical tales done in a fashion in which his rural black audiences could relate. Years later in 1928, Henning's twists on biblical tales were the basis of Bradford's book "Ol Man Adam and His Chillun." Marc Connely enjoyed the book, and the result was the play and film "The Green Pastures." The film and play adds the charming frame device of Mr. Deeshay, a black Sunday school teacher telling the Biblical tales from Bradford's text with Noah, Adam. Moses, et.al. as Southern rural blacks. Much has been said about the dialect and stereotypes. Fact is, the dialect is pretty close to the truth of this time and place, as my parents were of that generation (there is a reference to "Sonny Kick Mammy Wine." My parents would make me laugh at their description of a popular moonshine called "Fight Your Mama" that was supposed to have been so potent that it would make the drinker do as the title suggested).

However, the film, as well as much of Bradford's work, is filled with moving truths about the human condition. Witness the dialog between a pre-Rochester Eddie Anderson as Noah and the dignified Rex Ingram as God, as well as the observations about human nature made throughout the film. As for ending, I won't spoil it, but the final scene before the credits says the true message of the film without saying a word. Watch it with an open mind, enjoy, and think.

Incidentally, in 1963, the great comedian Mantan Moreland (who had a bit part as an angel in "The Green Pastures") went back to the source and recorded an album of tales from the source "Ol Man Adam And His Chillun." It's as delightful as the film and along with the original books, make a great addendum to the film.


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