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For film history buffs,this is the film that followed,"Guess Who's
Coming To Dinner" in Sid's career. What a great choice it was too! I
can't believe I'm only the third person to review this film. I bought a
marked down copy of this on DVD and I'm glad I did.
Sidney plays Jack Parks,owner of a trucking company who is a client for Mr. Austin (Carroll O'Conner). This is not the somewhat "good guy" we're used to seeing Sidney play. He's got a secret,his company is a front for an illeagal "traveling casino",in the back of the semi.
The Austin family have a maid named Ivy whose worked for them since she was 18. ...but now she's 27 and wants to leave her job to become a secretary in the city and go to school too. The Austin family react like their whole world is falling apart! Especially Mrs. Austin,who hasn't kept house herself in those 9 years with Ivy. Mr. Austin seems to be the only voice of reason,as far as Ivy leaving is concerned.
Mr. Austin's spoiled hippie son concocts a plan to keep Ivy working for them. If she marries Jack,she'll "have" to stay! Even his usually level-headed sister goes along with it,making it clear that they have only their own selfish interests in mind and not what it is Ivy wants.
I wont spoil the movie for you by saying how it all plays out but it's well worth the watching. It's not strictly a question of race in this film but more about what anyone as a human being wants and needs in their life.
1960's or now,that message is still universal to all. The dialouge,acting and direction are smartly done,so without a doubt,10 stars. Buy it or rent it...but you have to see it. (END)
I caught this last night on Turner and while this is a slight little
movie, I found it quite charming, mainly in the developing relationship
between the smooth, elegant, slightly dangerous Poitier and the sweet
and yet sassy Ms. Lincoln. They're a good match together, and I love
the very romantic seduction scene with that great Quincy Jones music
playing in the background. From what I've seen of Sidney Poitier he
usually plays a somewhat angry young man who's fighting the system in
some way. Well, here he just gets to play a smooth hustler, and man is
he sexy!!! Wish he'd made more light romantic films like this.
As for the rest of the cast - well, the plot serves them poorly. The white family come across as well meaning stooges, and the hippie look is really dated on Beau Bridges. But it's kind of the equivalent of one of those Rock Hudson/Doris Day movies with a bit more of an edge and a little bit of a conscience. Well worth watching when it comes around again.
America' love affair with Sidney Poitier, which reached its peak in the
resulted in the need for star vehicles for the actor. One such piece was
based on a story conceived by Poitier. Called, "For Love of Ivy," it cast
the charismatic actor in a role in which he could wear the latest
fashions--slickly tailored suits, sweaters, tuxes, and the like. His female
costar, Abbey Lincoln likewise dresses in a varied and stylish wardrobe,
looking quite pert and attractive.
The two seem to enjoy their little romantic romp in a lightweight domestic comedy, supported by Beau Bridges and Carroll O'Connor. Too bad the script tends to become a bit limp about midpoint, and never quite regains its zip.
The movie plays better in home video format, where one can lounge back and relax in home surroundings, rather than in the more formal setting of the theater. Then the proceedings become a bit sluggish, it helps to be comfortable. Still, it's fun watching these attractive performers engage in their comedic entanglements, in a brightly designed production, and to a Quincy Jones score.
I wish they were still making movies like this. The dialog is dated and
so is the reaction to the son's marriage proposal to Ivy, but I
thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Sidney and Abbey made "acting" look like
art. Abbey Lincoln exuded elegance, poise, common sense and a good
sense of humor. Sidney is always classy in whatever role he portrays.
I liked the Austin family too. They seemed to genuinely care about their housekeeper and seemed ahead of their time in terms of their views on race and class. They really meant well even when they said the wrong thing to Ivy, and didn't seem to realize that she wanted a better life for herself, a home of her own and a family of her own just as they did. Why should she be their "maid" until she died and be satisfied with that? Ivy wanted to pursue American Dream just like all of us do. Even the son who really seemed to care about her was selfish and wanted to trick her into staying under the guise of having her best interests at heart.
Sidney Poitier developed the original story for this fantasy-romance between a black maid working for a neurotic, rich white family out on Long Island and a handsome, confirmed bachelor--a partner in a trucking firm which deals (rather craftily) in illegal gambling on the side. In the most prominent role, Abbey Lincoln (real-life jazz vocalist who resembles a young Dionne Warwick) has a firm jaw and a shyly self-conscious manner, but she grows on you--and in her lighter moments displays a tentative yet winning smile and personality. After a static, stilted beginning, the movie picks up some steam and quickly overcomes its contrived set-up, and Poitier is full of jubilant charisma. Nice end-credits theme song, written by Quincy Jones and performed by Shirley Horn, received an Oscar nomination. Good fun! *** from ****
This is a great film starring Sidney Poiter as Jack Parks, who runs a gambling racket in a large van which is always on the move and he is beloved by all kinds of females who find him very attractive and sexy. It just so happens that a White family has a female Black female servant named Ivy Moore, (Abbey Lincoln) who is very attractive and has been with the family for over nine years of service. Ivey decides she wants to leave their employ and the family becomes very upset and Mr. Frank Austin, (Carroll O'Connor) decides something has to be done to keep Ivy from leaving. The family arranges for Ivy to meet Jack Parks who is a friend of the family and desires to become a match making family to get these two people together in order to keep their family maid still in the family service. There is plenty of comedy and funny situations which makes this a great story created by Sidney Poitier and he gives an outstanding performance along with a great supporting actress, Abbey Lincoln. Enjoy.
Over all I enjoyed this film, although it initially took a little
getting into because in the earliest scenes the dialogue came across as
forced and awkward. But that seemed less of a problem as the movie
progressed, with some quite sharp dialogue appearing, riveting central
performances from Poitier and Lincoln, unexpected plot twists, and an
intriguing tale unfolding.
I soon found I really cared about what happened to the characters, most especially the two leads. Poitier and Lincoln created absorbing, fully-rounded and intriguing characterisations, and the on-screen chemistry was sizzling.
The pacing and the manner of the storytelling at times felt to me almost like a cross between an Indie film and French cinema. An interesting, resonant, and visually engaging film. One I look forward to watching again someday.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was touched by this movie than I expected to be. It is a formulaic romantic comedy with an absurd premise that doesn't quite fit within the bounds of the formula. The clash that can result from differences in cultures and classes is touched on too deeply for what you might expect from such a comedy unless it's directed by Lubitsch or Wilder. But I found the movie satisfying anyway. I think everyone turns in strong, committed performances. Sidney Poitier is in total possession of the camera with his variety of alternating facial expressions. You could call it mugging but for me it worked and every facial expression felt fully motivated. Abby Lincoln is heart-wrenching as Ivy. She does seem too old for this role. But so does Beau Bridges. And both her and Bridges' performances are relentlessly precise, detailed and committed to what their characters are. I was happy with the actors in the roles of the white family. Don't forget that this is a comedy with an absurd premise. And the family is patronizing and cringe-inducing. But I think that is the point. I loved how the director gave us quick, dense pictures of the state of mind of the characters through their body postures. The director does some nice choreography with moving the cast through the house. For example, I loved the opening sequence in which the family moved through the house as they prepared for the morning. I loved Ivy and Jack's departure from the house that ends her employment as a maid. No minor character or extra/atmosphere is ever wasted. This is solid work that is worth seeing.
Just watched this on Netflix disc with Mom. She thought it was weird and I found myself half-agreeing with all the dated '60s clothes abounding in many scenes. While both Mom and me laughed at some scenes, I don't think either of us realized this was a comedy since there wasn't much in the lines we thought was funny. Still, I myself liked the dialogue between Sidney Poitier and Abbey Lincoln that permeated throughout and was glad with the way it ended for them. Interesting seeing Carroll O'Connor as someone other than Archie Bunker and a young Beau Bridges early in his film career. In summary, For Love of Ivy is worth a look. Oh, and unlike many of his characters during this period, Mr. Poitier doesn't seem so noble here...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sidney Poitier made some films that have become largely forgotten over
the course of his career. When you've made over 40 films in your
initial run, pre-first retirement, then there's naturally going to be
some that slip through the cracks. And today it seems hardly anyone
talks about Brother John, The Lost Man, Good-bye My Lady or Virgin
Island. But what could perhaps be surprising is that the film he made
right off the back of his biggest commercial success should be so
In 1967 Sidney Poitier was the most successful box office star in the world with three big hits in cinemas. Just one year later and he's only got one release, this stagily-directed semi-farce based on Poitier's own storyline. The main theme sees Poitier play possibly his most dislikeable character, arrogant businessman Jack Parks, match-made against his will with a black maid seeking some form of personal empowerment. The film concludes with a title song, informing us that what that empowerment amounts to is the need for love. That's right... although the film touches on themes of emancipation and black pride over the course of its runtime, it turns out all the titular Ivy needed all along was a good shag.
Chief matchmaker Beau Bridges does the best with what he's got as a representative of the 60s counterculture, but his stoner fixations seem today, like the main subtext of the movie, somewhat quaint and parochial; patronising rather than groundbreaking. Look out also for Parks' angered expression when Bridges' characters asks if he's gay, or the confused and confusing monologue from Bridges at the end.
However, such flaws are perhaps not always that of the movie; this was the first depiction of a romantic relationship between a black man and woman in mainstream Hollywood, and was quite groundbreaking for its time. It was just four years after this movie that Poitier had a go at directing himself... you do wonder if this was more than a coincidence, as the TV Movie style framing here makes the direction of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner look like the work of Scorcese. Ultimately it's a film that hasn't aged well, and a poor follow-up to his three '67 vehicles... though it may not have been so at the time.
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