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NO WAY OUT
1950, 20th Century Fox, 106 min, USA, Dir: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

After a man dies while under the care of new black doctor Luther Brooks (Sidney Poitier in his feature debut), the patient’s racist brother (Richard Widmark) refuses to allow an autopsy that would prove the physician’s actions were justified. As tensions in the community escalate, Dr. Brooks gets his autopsy the only way he can - by giving himself up for murder. Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee make brief appearances in this tense drama, one of the most blistering critiques of racism ever filmed.


EDGE OF THE CITY
1957, Warner Bros., 85 min, USA, Dir: Martin Ritt

Another gritty exploration of life on the Manhattan docks that’s also a powerful look at 1950s race relations. Sidney Poitier and John Cassavetes play working-class pals driven apart by ignorance and racism (exemplified by a virulent thug, played brilliantly by Jack Warden). Martin Ritt’s stunning directorial debut, based on Robert Alan Aurthur’s 1955 teleplay “A Man Is Ten Feet Tall.” Not entirely noir, but a smart and suspenseful drama overdue for rediscovery!


GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER
1967, Sony Repertory, 108 min, USA, Dir: Stanley Kramer

Matt and Christina Drayton (Hollywood power couple Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn) are in for a surprise when daughter Joey (Hepburn's real-life niece Katharine Houghton, in a Golden Globe-nominated performance) brings home her fiancé, black doctor John Wade Prentice (Sidney Poitier). The aging couple's supposedly liberal attitudes are challenged during one dramatic and hilarious day and evening, which culminates in the last-minute arrival of Prentice's parents and an Irish priest for dinner. Nominated for a whopping 10 Oscars, including a win for Best Actress (Hepburn) and Screenplay.


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