Although Peter and Kimani grew up together, Kimani soon finds that different races are treated differently. After Kimani's father is jailed for following tribal customs, Kimani joins a band... See full summary »
In the back country of South Africa, black minister Stephen Kumalo (Canada Lee) journeys to the city to search for his missing son, only to find his people living in squalor and his son a ... See full summary »
Drifter Axel North has just arrived in New York City, having traveled from city to city throughout the country. Given the name Charlie Malick as a contact by an acquaintance named Ed Faber, Axel is able to get a job working as a stevedore in Charlie's gang on the dockyards. Little did Axel know that Charlie is corrupt, requiring payola for that job, and is a racist. It is solely because of the color of his skin that Charlie hates his fellow gang boss, Tommy Tyler, a black man. It is also because he can see that Axel is a little wet behind the ears that Tommy tries to befriend him to get him out from under Charlie's thumb. Due solely to the reason that he is a drifter, Axel is slow to warm and open up to Tommy, eventually providing some basic information: that he is originally from Gary, Indiana, that his real surname is Nordmann, and that the only person he has ever really loved in his life was his older brother Andy, whose death exacerbated the already strained relationship he has ...Written by
Written specifically for Sidney Poitier. See more »
When Alex is fighting Charlie and they end up on the tracks near the end of the rail car Alex picks up a hunk of pipe that bends while he is swinging it. Charlie then hits him a couple of times in the gut. When Alex falls on the ground, it is obvious he has padding under his jacket to absorb the blows which disappears in the next shot. See more »
1957's Edge of the City, directed by Martin Ritt, stars John Cassavetes, Sidney Poitier, Jack Warden and Ruby Dee. It's the story of a troubled man, Axel, who has a mysterious past that gradually comes out during the film. He has a connection that gets him a job on a loading dock working for Charlie (Jack Warden), a real meanie who takes kickbacks from his workers and rides them hard. Charlie has an intense dislike for a black man, T.T. (Poitier) who holds the same position. T.T. invites Axel to work on his team; Axel defies Charlie and does so. Axel finds a place to live and socializes with T.T., his his wife (Dee) and their son's white schoolteacher (Kathleen McGuire). When tragedy strikes, none of the men on the loading dock will talk to the police, and Axel has to come to grips with his values, what he stands for, and the meaning of friendship.
This is a really excellent black and white film that curiously isn't really about being black or white! It's really about the limits one puts on oneself and knowing who you are. Charlie is a bigot and hates that a black man has a good position on the dock. T.T. teases Charlie and gives as good as he gets. There's no discussion of T.T. and Axel spending time together or of T.T.'s son having a white teacher with whom the family also socializes. What Axel, a loner, finds difficult is accepting any friendship or confiding in anyone - these things he learns through T.T.
Poitier absolutely shines in "Edge of the City" - he's warm, energetic, loving and smart, a man with a real enthusiasm for life, afraid of nothing. Cassavetes is excellent and plays a character totally opposite - hiding in the shadows, chronically depressed and always nervous.
The film leaves open what happens to Axel. Whatever does, he's a different man now.
Strangely underrated and unknown film, possibly in the shadow of a lot of the angry young men films that came out in that era.
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