IMDb > The Learning Tree (1969)
The Learning Tree
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The Learning Tree (1969) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 10% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Gordon Parks (novel)
Gordon Parks (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Learning Tree on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 March 1970 (Finland) See more »
It's the place where you come to learn what life is all about.
The story, set in Kansas during the 1920s, covers less than a year in the life of a black teenager,... See more » | Add synopsis »
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Beautifully photographed, but awkwardly scripted See more (8 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Kyle Johnson ... Newt
Alex Clarke ... Marcus
Estelle Evans ... Sarah

Dana Elcar ... Kirky
Mira Waters ... Arcella
Joel Fluellen ... Uncle Rob

Malcolm Atterbury ... Silas Newhall
Richard Ward ... Booker Savage
Russell Thorson ... Judge Cavanaugh
Peggy Rea ... Miss McClintock
Carol Lamond ... Big Mabel

Kevin Hagen ... Doc Tim Cravens
Jimmy Rushing ... Chappie Logan (as James Rushing)

Dub Taylor ... Spikey
Felix Nelson ... Jack Winger
George Mitchell ... Jake Kiner
S. Pearl Sharp ... Prissy (as Saundra Sharp)
Steven Perry ... Jappy (as Stephen Perry)
Don Dubbins ... Harley Davis, Defense Attorney
Jon Lormer ... McCormack
Morgan Sterne ... Mr. Hall
Thomas Anderson ... Pastor Broadnap
Phillip Roye ... Pete Winger

Hope Summers ... Mrs. Kiner
Carter Vinnegar ... Seansy
Bobby Goss ... Skunk
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Zooey Hall ... Chauncey Cavanaugh (uncredited)
Alfred Jones ... Cap'n Tuck (uncredited)
Tony Teebo ... Farm Boy (uncredited)

Directed by
Gordon Parks 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Gordon Parks  novel
Gordon Parks  screenplay

Produced by
Jimmy Lydon .... associate producer
Gordon Parks .... producer
Original Music by
Gordon Parks 
Cinematography by
Burnett Guffey 
Film Editing by
George R. Rohrs 
Production Design by
Edward D. Engoron 
Set Decoration by
Joanne MacDougall 
Makeup Department
George Bau .... makeup artist
Elizabeth Searcy .... hair stylist (unconfirmed)
Production Management
Russell Llewellyn .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jack Aldworth .... first assistant director
Fred Giles .... second assistant director
Art Department
Fred Collins .... construction coordinator
Ray Mercer Jr. .... props
Lou Sluskin .... props
John Solie .... sketch artist
Sound Department
Jules Bouyere .... cable
Joel Cox .... sound assistant
George Hause .... sound recordist
Robert J. Miller .... mixer
Eugene O'Brien .... boom operator
Visual Effects by
Albert Whitlock .... special photographic effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Don Cady .... best boy
Alfred Cline .... camera operator
Owen Crompton .... grip
Gibby Germaine .... electric gaffer
Eugene Lenoir .... camera assistant
Jack Morrow .... camera assistant
Joseph M. Wilcots .... camera assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Rose Brandi .... costumer
Wayne Reed .... costumer
Ermon Sessions .... costumer
Janet Strong .... costumer
Editorial Department
Ralph H. Martin .... assistant editor
Music Department
Sonny Burke .... music supervisor
Tom McIntosh .... conductor
Tom McIntosh .... orchestrator
Dan Wallin .... score mixer

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
107 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Finland:K-12 | Sweden:15 | UK:AA | USA:PG | USA:M (original rating)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The first major studio feature film directed by an African-American (Gordon Parks).See more »
Movie Connections:
My Baby's GoneSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
17 out of 27 people found the following review useful.
Beautifully photographed, but awkwardly scripted, 21 July 2001
Author: Tony Adam (Tony-41) from Houston, Texas

The Learning Tree is one of those milestone films that one wishes were much better than it is. Parks' genius for the image comes through time and again, particularly in the opening sequence of the tornado and the horseback riders silhouetted by the sun. The milieu--rural Kansas in the 1920s--is unusual for a film focusing on racial conflict in the U.S., and that alone makes for an interesting film concept. But Parks' lack of film directorial and writing experience mars what could have been a major production. The dialogue in particular is often stilted and forced; too often the characters read their lines as though they're afraid they'll forget something. As a result, there's little real warmth or connection between characters. The other big problem here seems to be flow; each brief episode seems encapsulated, with new characters popping up left and right and then disappearing and reappearing without much development. Case in point: the series of episodes after the arrest. Who exactly are all of these new characters? What is the relationship between the white and black families, and between individuals in both groups? They come, they go, they reappear, but we're lucky to have caught their names. All in all, a much stronger film would have resulted from a collaboration of different screenwriter, director, and cinematographer, rather than having Parks run the whole show. If any film deserves a remake, it's The Learning Tree.

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