Check out more First Wednesday Books right here.
Some of the comments are not showing up. Sorry.
PICTURES AT A REVOLUTION: FIVE MOVIES AND THE BIRTH OF A NEW HOLLYWOOD (Mark Harris) examined the five pictures nominated that year, the history of their production, the directors, actors and producers involved in the film, and the politics of the country and
What made the five pictures especially interesting was how they harkened back to traditional Hollywood films from an earlier period with Doctor Doolittle and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (despite its interracial theme, it is in every way standard treatment of such, and stars two Hollywood stalwarts), looked forward to the seventies with The Graduate and Bonnie and Clyde, and marked time with In the Heat of the Night. Harris meticulously recounts each film’s history and how it reflected the ambivalence of
Especially interesting is the story of Sidney Portier, starring in two of the five films, Harris recounts his disgust over being repeatedly hired to play a black man that a white audience would not fell threatened by. He never was allowed to play a person of nuance—much less an out and out villain. Because of this, his performances seem more tepid than they might have had he been allowed to play a real person.
Of course, the film to triumph in 1967 was the one in the middle: In the Heat of the Night. I leave you to decide if that was the best choice.
This was a fascinating account I highly recommend for those who follow movie history.
(This first appeared on the website Crimespree Cinema).