6.6/10
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13 user 11 critic

Brother John (1971)

PG-13 | | Drama, Sci-Fi | 15 August 1971 (Sweden)
A man who returns to his hometown for a funeral may have a much larger purpose in life than those around him can see.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Lloyd Thomas
...
Louisa MacGill
...
Orly Ball
...
George
...
Charley Gray
P. Jay Sidney ...
Rev. MacGill
...
Frank
...
Henry Birkardt
...
Miss Nettie
...
Cleve
Howard Rice ...
Jimmy
Darlene Rice ...
Marsha
Harry Davis ...
Turnkey
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Storyline

John Kane (Sidney Poitier) always seems to know when there will be a death in his family, despite not being in touch with them, and returns to his hometown. He has come home again, to be at his sister's deathbed and funeral. There is a strike in the town, and the police think he is a labor agitator. His well-used passport and unusual book collection only fuel their suspicions. But the town's doctor has always noticed that John is different, and thinks he has a larger purpose in life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Brother John just blew into town...and the town is about to blow apart!

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some language | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

15 August 1971 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Kane  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Columbia Pictures was denied the use of the name Kane for this picture by a 3-man industry panel on Apr. 24, 1970. RKO claimed the moniker would be detrimental to the movie Citizen Kane (1941) which was still in reissue. Variety, May 20, 1970. See more »

Quotes

John Kane: I have seen... people. Swarming all over the world... like maggots on a rotten apple, getting ready to leap off the earth. First to the moon, and then to the stars.
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Connections

Featured in Shirtless: Hollywood's Sexiest Men (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Children of the Summer
Music by Quincy Jones and lyrics by Ernie Sheldon
Performed by Clydie King
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User Reviews

 
Heavenly angel or Black Power agent
13 October 2012 | by See all my reviews

Heavy handed allegory gets a tick for its ambition and casting, but the momentum and pace is severely soporific with long passages of seemingly endless staring and close-ups of eyeballs where words should be present. Poitier returns to his home town to attend the funeral of his sister, but following a series of evangelical interventions in the town's struggling labour relations, many come to believe that he may be the second coming. Predictably, there are those in the redneck town who want to lynch him for impersonating Christ (potentially an opportunistic charlatan), while others hope he can reverse the disturbing trends and save lives.

Local doctor played by Will Geer initially greets Poitier with scepticism but opens his mind to the possibilities; his son played by Bradford Dillman, on the other hand is cynical of Poitier's intentions which local sheriff Ramon Bieri believes are to agitate the local black community into industrial disputation for better treatment and wages. Lincoln Kilpatrick, Richard Ward and Paul Winfield play local oppressed workers who come to trust Poitier and his unconventional wisdom.

Grainy colour tones and heavy doses of symbolism create an eerie atmosphere, but I felt the film never quite hit the mark, languishing somewhere between fantasy and melodrama. But then perhaps the low key treatment is what makes it a memorable and original little title (and one that appears now long forgotten). Low key but worth a look.


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