Born in Birmingham, Duff Anderson, the father of a male toddler, who lives with a nanny, re-locates to a small town to work on the railroad. He meets with and is attracted to Josie much to the chagrin of her preacher father. The marriage does take place nevertheless, both re-locate to live in their own house and he gets a job in a mill. He decides not to bring his son to live with them. Challenges arise when the Mill Foreman finds out that Duff is attempting to unionize the workers, forcing Duff to quit, and look for work elsewhere. Unable to reconcile himself to working on a daily wage of $2.50 picking cotton nor even as a waiter, he gets a job at a garage. He is enraged at a customer for belittling him and Josie, and is let go. Unemployed, unable to support his wife and son, he gets abusive and leaves - perhaps never to return. Written by
I thoroughly enjoyed "Nothing But a Man." Unlike other films before it, it shows black men and casts them in lead roles instead of sticking them in white circles. It is an excellent and faithful depiction of problems that blacks faced, such as maratial, familial, and social dilemmas. This film also focuses on black masculinity and what being a black man is about, and it highlights the struggle and contrast of being free and easy and not tied down as opposed to being married and struggling for one's dignity. The film itself is great for its neorealistic style. It is like a documentary in many respects. It is black & white, gritty, and has no soundtracks running (save the Motown and the gospel). Unlike the race films of Micheaux and Williams who used this documentary-style depiction to push their messages, Roemer fearlesssly shows the brutality and bleakness of African-American life, with an ending reminiscent of Orwell's 1984. I loved this movie. It is honest, non-patronizing, and accurate. I saw it in my ethnic cinema class, and I highly recommend it.
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