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Native Son (1951)

5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 55 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 2 critic

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Title: Native Son (1951)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Richard Wright ...
Gloria Madison ...
Willa Pearl Curtis ...
Nicholas Joy ...
Ruth Robert ...
Charles Cane ...
George D. Green ...
Panama
...
George Rigaud ...
Farley, a reporter
Leslie Straugh ...
Lidia Alves ...
Charles Simmonds ...
Ernie
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ned Campbell ...
Don Dean ...
Max
Cecile Lezard ...
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Taglines:

Richard Wright's SAVAGE, TERRIFYING BEST SELLER EXPLODES ONTO THE SCREEN! See more »

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

2 March 1951 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

En skugga faller  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Canada Lee was set to star as Bigger Thomas (he had shot to fame in Orson Welles's Broadway production of Native Son), but he was stuck in limbo with South African customs agents during the filming of Cry, the Beloved Country (1951), not to mention his failing health eventually caused Lee to back out of the project. See more »

Connections

Remade as Native Son (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

A definite curio

Author Tom Clancy has been very critical of the way his novels, including "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger," have been adapted for the screen, and he has been especially critical of the casting, believing that Harrison Ford is too old to play his CIA agent hero, Jack Ryan. Perhaps Clancy should do what black novelist Richard Wright did in 1950: play the lead role in the film version of his novel. The novel in question is "Native Son," the now classic tale of Bigger Thomas, a poor black youth who takes the job of chauffeuring the daughter of an affluent white liberal, only to kill the girl out of fear rather than malice.

The movie was produced on a miniscule budget in Europe, and despite poor acting, low-class production values, and a generally amateurish tone, it is of definite interest due to the casting of Wright as Bigger. Sure, Mickey Spillane would play his creation, the hard-nosed private detective Mike Hammer, in 1963's "The Girl Hunters," but whatever Spillane's merits as a writer, he has never been considered a "serious" novelist. Wright, on the other hand, was the first black author to break from the literary ghetto in which Negro writers were usually placed, and be acclaimed as a distinguished man of letters regardless of race. His is a prestigious name in literature, so it comes as quite a shock to see this great writer willing to be seen as a bad actor. But Wright is surrounded by thespians who are just as bad, and can't boast of having written a literary classic. Most of the cast is as amateurish in their portrayals as the stock company Edward Wood employed in such laughably inept productions as "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and "Bride of the Monster." The overall production is not as shoddy as Wood's films, but the middle-aged Wright's portrayal of 19-year-old Bigger Thomas is more than enough to thoroughly sink it.

Still, this is a definite curio, and worth a look for anyone as interested in literature as they are in cinema.


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