January 28, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES II • Page 19 Sidney Poitier featured in new DVD box set collection by Dennis Seuling One of the biggest stars of the 1960s is showcased in “The Sidney Poitier Collection” (Warner Home Video), containing four feature films that span three decades. A native of Cat Island in the Bahamas, Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of a dirt farmer. He had little formal education and, at the age of 15, was sent to Miami to live with his brother. It was here that Poitier first encountered racial intolerance. After moving to New York at age 18, he did menial jobs until he impulsively auditioned for the American Negro Theater. Having been forcefully rejected, he dedicated the next six months to ridding himself of his accent and working on his performance skills. On his second audition, he was accepted. After a few minor roles on Broadway, Poitier was offered a role in Darryl Zanuck’s “No Way Out,” launching his movie career. Poitier was nominated as Best Actor for “The Defiant Ones” (1958) and won the Best Actor Oscar for “Lilies of the Field” (1963). He became the first African-American superstar, one of the biggest box office draws of the 1960s in such films as “To Sir, With Love,” “In the Heat of the Night,” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (all 1967). The films in the set range from “A Patch of Blue” (1965), in which a blind girl (Elizabeth Hartman) falls in love with a kindly black man, to “Something of Value” (1957), in which Poitier and Rock Hudson portray best friends who become enemies when Poitier’s character takes up the struggle for Kenyan independence and turns to violence. For a young Sidney Poitier in an emotional, yet raw performance, there is the gritty, dark “Edge of the City” (1957). Poitier plays a freight car loader who befriends a longshoreman and army deserter (John Cassavetes), but must confront a brutal, bigoted boss (Jack Warden). The movie is notable in the way it shows a friendship between a white man and a black man, revolutionary at the time. The weakest film in the collection is “A Warm December” (1973), a sappy romance about Dr. Matt Younger (Poitier) who, accompanied by his daughter, visits London and discovers a love interest in Catherine (Esther Anderson), a woman who carries a secret that is gradually revealed. The role is a poor fit for Poitier, who looks uncomfortable in most of his scenes. A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich” (Koch Vision), based on an Alice Childress novel, is a story about a family struggling with the issues of teenage drug use and crime in their poverty-stricken neighborhood. Thirteen-year-old Benjie (Larry B. Scott) says he can stop using heroin any time he wants to. But the drug helps him tune out the realities of ghetto life. Benjie sees little of worth in his day-to-day existence. He finds school a waste of time and gets little consolation and support at home. After Benjie hits rock bottom, his mother (Cicely Tyson) and father (Paul Winfield) must sacrifice to help him overcome his dependency. Tyson and Winfield, reunited from “Sounder,” are both excellent, but young Scott is quite amazing in the emotional role of a boy beaten down by the despair of his surroundings, yet ultimately determined to transcend the label “drug addict.” This edition has no extras. “Songs in Ordinary Time” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) stars Academy Award-winner Sissy Spacek (1980, Best Actress, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”) and Beau Bridges (“The Fabulous Baker Boys”), in a drama based on the Mary McGarry Morris bestseller. Marie Fremoyle (Spacek), a divorced mother of three children, is struggling to provide for her family in Vermont in the early 1960s. She desperately wants to provide a better life for them. When Omar Duvall (Beau Bridges) enters the lives of the Fremoyle family, he promises to help them realize their dream of a brighter, more rewarding future. Omar’s true story becomes clear, however, and each family member must decide whether he is what he appears to be -- a decent, down-on-his-luck salesman -- or a lethal con man not above killing to cover his tracks. Spacek portrays Marie as a lonely, hardworking woman hoping for some Sidney Poitier stars in four feature films in ‘The Sidney Poitier Collection.’ opportunity to provide a decent future for her kids. Bridges takes on the role of Omar as part Starbuck from “The Rainmaker,” part Professor Marvel from “The Wizard of Oz” -- a charmer with a gift for tapping into people’s desires and making them seem easier to achieve than they imagined. There are no extras. Warner Brothers Home Video has issued a series of DVDs in its All-Star Romance series. The Romance Classics Collection is a box set containing four popular 1960s flicks starring up-andcoming Warner contract stars: “Parrish” (Troy Donahue), “Susan Slade” (Connie Stevens), “Rome Adventure” (Suzanne Pleshette), and “Palm Springs Weekend” (Donahue, Stevens). Other titles in the series, sold separately, include “Waterloo Bridge” (Vivien Leigh, Robert Taylor), “Cannery Row” (Nick Nolte, Debra Winger), “The Yellow RollsRoyce” (Ingrid Bergman, Rex Harrison, Alain Delon, George C. Scott, Jeanne Moreau, Omar Sharif, Shirley MacLaine), and “Far From the Madding Crowd” (Julie Christie, Terence Stamp). The unsung gem in the series is the musical “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” starring Peter O’Toole and Petula Clark. Made during the late ‘60s period of bloated, bigbudget musicals that hoped to duplicate the box office cash flow of “The Sound of Music,” “Goodbye Mr. Chips” is a lovely film with an excellent performance by (continued on Crossword page) Authentic Cuisine from Spain � �������������� ��� and up includes soup or salad, potatoes, rice or vegetable and coffee Mon-Fri 11:30-3 SANGRIA • WINE • COCKTAILS ���� ���������� ������������ Open 7 Days a Week • Mon-Thurs 11:30-10, Fri 11:30-11, Sat 12-11, Sun 12-10 ������������������������������������������ Lunch Specials Starting at $4.95 served Mon.-Sat 11:30-3pm KIRKERS Take Time for LUNCH Our Popular Country Lunch: $ Cup of Soup and Choice of a Sandwich or Jr. Entree Burgers, Artesian Salads, Cheesesteaks, Grilled Chicken Tuesday Special - Our Top “6” Entrees Only $1200 Sauerbrauten • Wienerschnitzel • “Wursts” Platter • Prime Rib Stuffed Shrimp with Crabmeat Shore Thing - Broiled or Fried 237 Diamond Bridge Ave, Hawthorne • 973-427-7700 www.kirkers.com • All Major Credit Cards Accepted 495 6-8 pm