American Playhouse: Season 8, Episode 1

A Raisin in the Sun (1 Feb. 1989)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Drama
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 177 users  
Reviews: 8 user

A substantial insurance payment could mean either financial salvation or personal ruin for a poor black family.

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Title: A Raisin in the Sun (01 Feb 1989)

A Raisin in the Sun (01 Feb 1989) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »

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Kimble Joyner ...
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Mrs. Johnson
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Kim Yancey ...
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A substantial insurance payment could mean either financial salvation or personal ruin for a poor black family.

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Comedy | Drama

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1 February 1989 (USA)  »

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Helen Martin reprises the role of Mrs. Johnson, a part she originated in the Broadway musical adaptation entitled Raisin. See more »

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Version of A Raisin in the Sun (2008) See more »

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Note-Complete.
24 May 2008 | by (New Haven County, Connecticut) – See all my reviews

Danny Glover gives an outstanding performance as Walter Lee, and while I think Claudia McNeil (in the 1961 film) gave us a far more convincing and believable Lena Younger than did Esther Rolle--somehow, Miss McNeil gave me a woman whose hands smelt of "spic-'n'-span" cleaner and bleach, whereas Miss Rolle, even in costume and makeup, gives us the impression of having regular visits to a manicurist!--she and the rest of the cast give supporting performances that are worthy of much praise.

What's best of all, in this version, is that we get every scrap of dialogue that could be found of the play, including passages which were skipped in the original production. This makes for a longer, slower-moving drama, but it pays dividends in that the longer build-up justifies the more intense outbursts that climax each act of the play.

For example, the moving scene showing how upset Ruth becomes to learn that the neighborhood children have been combatting a live rat--this scene helps us share her motivation to visit an abortionist. Beneatha's lengthy monologues about her aspirations lend enormous depth to her character, and provide an important parallel to the thwarted ambitiousness which proves so painful and fateful for her elder brother.

The entire production gives one the impression of having had the chief goal of RESTORING Hansberry's play with the same respect and thoroughness as people apply to Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams or other "classics"--a production where all participants resolve, not to impose their OWN visions on the play, but to allow the playwright's vision and message to come forth, as originally intended.

A "definitive" version of this great play about living by principle and morality and thereby conquering limitations and adversity.


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