White Pat Conroy was born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina. In March, 1969 under the Beaufort School District, he starts a job teaching at a small poor school located on Daufuskie ... See full summary »
White Pat Conroy was born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina. In March, 1969 under the Beaufort School District, he starts a job teaching at a small poor school located on Daufuskie Island, an island in a South Carolina river delta, the island accessible only by boat. The island is inhabited exclusively by blacks. He quickly learns that his students, who have never left the island, lack not only a basic understanding of academic items such as the alphabet and simple arithmetic, but also of other basic necessities of life such as personal hygiene. They can't even pronounce his name, they who call him Conrack. The teachers before him, including the school principal Mrs. Scott, have always treated the students as being slow and basically unteachable of academics. Conrack, a free thinking man, decides to expose his students not only to the academic subjects, but also to the gamut of life skills from brushing one's teeth to human anatomy, and some of the fun things in life like ... Written by
In a 2007 interview on the Dennis Miller Radio Show, Jon Voight recalled a reunion that was held 20 years after the release of the movie, with all of the available actors. Of the 21 actors who portrayed students, at the time of the reunion, 3 were teachers. See more »
Pat Conroy's autobiographical book "The Water Is Wide" proves to be something of a Southern "Up The Down Staircase", yet despite the teacher-going-against-the-odds formula, "Conrack" really does move the audience with each little breakthrough and creative flash. These students (uneducated black kids on an island off South Carolina) are actually shown learning, and their collective wide-eyed innocence is remarkably sweet. The one actual actress in the bunch (Tina Andrews, an amazing performer) plays the "tough nut" Conrack has to crack, and once she falls under his charms, it all seems a breeze. But the story is not ready-made for a happy ending, and I wasn't prepared for the quiet simplicity of the finale. It's beautifully done. The script veers off course every now and then, but director Martin Ritt is very smart to always fall back on Jon Voight's solid presence. Scenes such as the one where he drives around in his van venting his frustrations over a loudspeaker don't add up to much, but the whole film is filled with episodes which spark emotion, and the actual ending is their payoff. **1/2 out of ****
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?