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The Green Pastures (1936)

Approved | | Drama | 1 August 1936 (USA)
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God, heaven, and several Old Testament stories, including the Creation and Noah's Ark, are described supposedly using the perspective of rural, black Americans.

Writers:

Roark Bradford (suggested by: Southern Sketches "Ol' Man Adam and His Chillun'"), Marc Connelly (a fable by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rex Ingram ... De Lawd / Adam / Hezdrel
Oscar Polk ... Gabriel
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson ... Noah (as Eddie Anderson)
Frank H. Wilson Frank H. Wilson ... Moses (as Frank Wilson)
George Reed ... Mr. Deshee
Abraham Gleaves Abraham Gleaves ... Archangel
Myrtle Anderson Myrtle Anderson ... Eve
Al Stokes Al Stokes ... Cain
Edna Mae Harris Edna Mae Harris ... Zeba (as Edna M. Harris)
James Fuller James Fuller ... Cain the Sixth
George Randol George Randol ... High Priest
Ida Forsyne Ida Forsyne ... Noah's Wife
Ray Martin Ray Martin ... Shem
Charles Andrews Charles Andrews ... Flatfoot (as Chas. Andrews)
Dudley Dickerson ... Ham
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Storyline

God, heaven, and several Old Testament stories, including the Creation and Noah's Ark, are described supposedly using the perspective of rural, black Americans.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Auf grüner Aue See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway stage production won the 1930 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It opened February 26, 1930, at the Mansfield Theatre in New York, and ran for 640 performances. Juanita Hall, who later played "Bloody Mary" in the stage and film versions of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's classic South Pacific (1958), appeared in the original stage production. See more »

Goofs

When Noah is loading animals onto the ark, 4 sheep enter, not 2. Genesis 7:2 says that Noah was to board 2 of every "unclean" animal and 7 of every "clean" animal. Sheep are considered "clean." See more »

Quotes

Gabriel: Gangway for the lord god, Jehovah!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Heaven (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Lord, I Don't Feel Noways Tired
(uncredited)
Traditional spiritual from Hampton and Its Students (1872)
Performed by the Hall Johnson Choir
See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable when viewed in context
14 January 2013 | by DamonfordhamSee all my reviews

Before I get into the film itself, here's the little known back-story. Roark Bradford, a white Tennesseean, was mesmerized as a boy by the sermons of a black preacher named John Wesley Henning (aka "Preacher Wes). Rev. Henning entertained and educated his audiences with imaginative biblical tales done in a fashion in which his rural black audiences could relate. Years later in 1928, Henning's twists on biblical tales were the basis of Bradford's book "Ol Man Adam and His Chillun." Marc Connely enjoyed the book, and the result was the play and film "The Green Pastures." The film and play adds the charming frame device of Mr. Deeshay, a black Sunday school teacher telling the Biblical tales from Bradford's text with Noah, Adam. Moses, et.al. as Southern rural blacks. Much has been said about the dialect and stereotypes. Fact is, the dialect is pretty close to the truth of this time and place, as my parents were of that generation (there is a reference to "Sonny Kick Mammy Wine." My parents would make me laugh at their description of a popular moonshine called "Fight Your Mama" that was supposed to have been so potent that it would make the drinker do as the title suggested).

However, the film, as well as much of Bradford's work, is filled with moving truths about the human condition. Witness the dialog between a pre-Rochester Eddie Anderson as Noah and the dignified Rex Ingram as God, as well as the observations about human nature made throughout the film. As for ending, I won't spoil it, but the final scene before the credits says the true message of the film without saying a word. Watch it with an open mind, enjoy, and think.

Incidentally, in 1963, the great comedian Mantan Moreland (who had a bit part as an angel in "The Green Pastures") went back to the source and recorded an album of tales from the source "Ol Man Adam And His Chillun." It's as delightful as the film and along with the original books, make a great addendum to the film.


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