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Lilies of the Field (1963)

Cast: Sidney Poitier, Sidney Poitier, Lilia Skala, more...
Director: Ralph Nelson, Ralph Nelson
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: MGM
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 95 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish, French
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Synopsis
Sidney Poitier plays Homer Smith, an aimless ex-GI who takes a temporary handyman job at a Southwestern farm maintained by five German nuns. It is the cherished dream of the Mother Superior (Lilia Skala) to build a chapel (or, as she says, a "shapel"). She is convinced that the personable Homer has been sent from Above to help her realize her dream. He protests loudly and rudely, but she will not be dissuaded. How Homer accomplishes her goal, endears himself to the surrounding townsfolk, and avoids an arrest for a previous crime, comprises the heart of Lilies of the Field. The film, adapted by James Poe from a novel by William E. Barrett, was later remade for television, and it won Poitier an Academy Award for Best Actor, the first time that award was given to an African-American. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

"EVERYONE stand up!" by Saroz February 16, 2004 - 10:14 PM PST
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2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Let me start this off with one irreversible fact: I am not a religious person. Thus it is a pleasant surprise for me to be charmed by a film which, quite simply, is about faith. Not faith in the traditional evangelical sense, which is perhaps why it appeals to me; it's about faith in other people, in honesty and commitment, and...sappy as it sounds...in doing good.

One key reason why I enjoyed Lilies of the Field is because my favorite films are character-centred dramas (especially black and white ones!). This is just one in a list of such films released under MGM's "Vintage Classics" DVD label, joining the ranks of such greats as 12 Angry Men, Birdman of Alcatraz and Elmer Gantry. They are simple, well-scripted and directed films that, when all is said and done, sink or swim on the quality of one thing: an actor's performance, in this case the legendary Sidney Poitier. He carries the character of Homer Smith with expert precision, neither making him overly-compassionate or overly-selfish (a lesser actor might have gone one of these two directions), and very much deserving of the Academy Award he won. He is of course joined by several quality supporting actors, most notably Lilia Skala as the cantankerous Mother Maria and Stanley Adams in a rare dramatic role as the gas station owner, Juan.

Ultimately, the story is a little on the thin side - it is very simplistic, even more so than most movies of its kind - and some characters, especially the other nuns, do little more than nod and smile, but the natural warmth and humor of the film carry it the full 95-minute length and leave the viewer feeling satisfied. It is a very charming picture and great for the whole family...especially during the holidays (despite having no actual holiday 'ties'). Even if you're a bit skeptical, give it a try - I don't think you'll regret it.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 7.08)
13 Votes
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Non-westerns filmed in Tucson
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Filmmakers love Tucson, Arizona. The weather is usually good, the landscape is lovely, and the city is large enough to be interesting. This is a list of movies made in Tucson, excluding Westerns (which is a whole 'nother list).
Flapjack

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