In 1940s Chicago, a young black man takes a job as a chauffeur to a white family, which takes a turn for the worse when he accidentally kills the teenage daughter of the couple and then tries to cover it up.
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Bigger Thomas, an African American who lives in an impoverished neighborhood, is employed by a prosperous white family who live in the suburbs of a major city. The money Bigger makes at his new job will be used to supplement his mother's income. As a chauffeur, he is directed by the father of the family to take Mary, the daughter, to the university. Instead, Mary decides to pick up her Socialist boyfriend, Jan, and to spend the time drinking and partying. Jan and Mary portray a young liberal couple who venture into a black neighborhood with Bigger for the sole purpose of being entertained at Ernie's, a black nightclub. On the way home, Mary becomes inebriated and Bigger must get her to her bedroom without being detected. Mary's mother, who is blind, enters the room and Bigger panics at the thought of being caught with a white woman. He accidentally kills Mary by placing a pillow over her head to keep her quiet. Still frightened, Bigger disposes of the body in the furnace, possibly ... Written by
Broncine G. Carter
I'm not sure what Diane Silver was thinking when she was making this movie, but it obviously had nothing to do with Richard Wright's novel, which the movie is based on.
We read the novel this past summer for AP English 12, and just watched the film. During periodic note-taking and checking of the clock, I contemplated the chances of being struck by lightning. Of course, the sky was completely clear, and I was forced to watch the rest of the movie... and then write a 5-paragraph essay on it.
Wright's novel discussed very real themes, of the mind of a killer and the psychology behind it. Silver's movie turned a murderer into a victim, which is NOT what Wright wanted (see: "How Bigger was Born" 454).
I'm going to make this short and sweet: if you want to leave your consciousness, in Raphael Lambert's words, unsullied, skip the movie and read the book. The 1986 adaptation is not thought-provoking material.
... ::sigh:: Now I have to write the essay.
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