College volunteer Alan is working alone at the crisis center one evening when he receives a telephone call from suicidal caller Inga Dyson.College volunteer Alan is working alone at the crisis center one evening when he receives a telephone call from suicidal caller Inga Dyson.College volunteer Alan is working alone at the crisis center one evening when he receives a telephone call from suicidal caller Inga Dyson.
Visuals aside, this is a great film. Again, dealing with some rather dark issues. The scene where Anne Bancroft comes home and sees her husband in the living room looking depressed...you don't know if he's having a psychotic episode, has lost his job or is on LSD. Anne Bancroft, overall, is a disturbing character. Perhaps more disturbing is that she would play another tragic character two years later - Mrs. Robinson, in The Graduate. Sidney Poitier is in usual form - the studious, morally-superior black in a predominantly white setting. I like what someone else here said - that the film very subtly has a subtext on race (how could a 1960s film showing blacks and whites in the same frame not? How could we as Americans not read race into the film?) while never dealing with race explicitly. This is actually one reason I think Sidney Poitier's characters and films are an important, and yet lost, representation of race relations. For all the flack that he got in the racially charged mood of the 1960s as an assimilationist good black who whites could accept, especially as he was the first black protagonist in films (it didn't help that he was West Indian, having grown up in the Bahamas). to me I still see some kind of Caribbean AND Black persona in his characters which I think he 'sneaks in' in subtle ways. His classic move is some breaking point at which he can't take any more -- whether its racial bigotry, disrespect for authority, or something else -- and he delivers some great speech of moral indignation. He does it in 'pressure point', in 'to sir with love', 'in the heat of the night', and maybe a few others. It may be pretentious at times, but this 'style' disappeared after the late 60s as blaxploitation with its overly masculinized and violent characters became the dominant representation in film.
Anyway, all the political and social analysis aside, this is really a great film.
- Feb 28, 2005