Cry the Beloved Country
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The story takes place in 1946. The preacher temporaily leaves his flock and family to go to Johannesburg to search for his brother, his sister, and his son, Absalom. For those who are well versed in the Bible, the name "Absalom" is not without significance.
He finds all three, but too late. His brother has turned away from the church and become involved in racial politics. His sister has turned to prostitution, and his son has become involved with less than salubrious companions.
The landowner lives in the same countryside as the preacher, and he, too, has a son. As did the preacher's son, his had also migrated to Johannesburg, and was a well known city engineer, as well as an altruist dedicated to helping the native population. Unfortunately, the son ends up murdered in his own home by a gang of natives, one of whom is Absalom.
While the landowner and the preacher may have been from the same area and their paths may have crossed, they had never before spoken to one another, until their paths tragically intersected through their sons: one murdered, the other, the murderer. Their respective journeys to reach their sons serves to starkly draw the contrast between White and Black South Africa.Read more ›
This film version is centered around perhaps James Earl Jones' most powerful screen performance. He stars as the Reverend Stephen Kumalo, a clergyman from a small town in South Africa. He is a strong man of faith and leads a congregation in matters both religious and practical. His son ran away to Johannesburg to work in the mines, and his sister went away also to join her husband. His brother, John, is also in the city, an outspoken black activist who has abandoned the ways of religion because religion is not creating justice for blacks. The film opens with Reverend Kumalo receiving word that things are not all well in Johannesburg.
Richard Harris has the role of James Jarvis, a wealthy white landowner from the same small town. His son has also gone to Johannesburg, where he works as an activist trying to improve the repressed condition of the South African Blacks who are only starting to come under the evil thumb of Apartheid.
The whites and blacks are so separate that although they are two of the most prominent figures in a small town, Mr. Jarvis and the Reverend Kumalo have not even met as the movie opens. Tragedy strikes, more than once, and without spoiling the plot I'll just reveal that it involves the two sons of these two characters.
Roodt goes out of his way to display the noble suffering of Reverend Kumalo. He never speaks a discouraging word, even when confronting terrible injustice.Read more ›
In the opening scenes the audience is treated to absolutely breath-taking images of the hills of South Africa, it is there that you are introduced to the story's protangonist Rev. Kumalo, the pastor of a small country church in South Africa. The role of Kumalo is played brilliantly by James Earl Jones.
In the opening scenes Rev. Kumalo travels to Johannesburg to come to the aid of his sister and to search for his son. While in Johannesburg, the lives of Rev. Kumalo and James Jarvis, a weathly farmer and neighbor of Kumalo played by Richard Harris, are brought together by an event (I will leave it at that) that will profoundly affect the lives of both men. Pay particular attention to the scene where Jones and Harris first meet, it is a wonderful example what is possible when two accomplished actors are put together and given the chance to ply their trades.
"Cry, The Beloved Country," does require some patience from the viewer, director Darrell Roodt builds the story slowly and deliberately, and even this level of dillegence doesn't completely pay off, but when the movie comes to it's climax I can guarantee you will appreciate the time Roodt took to set up the story in the beginning of the movie.
This is really the story of an honest man in dishonest wolrd and the effect individuals can make in the lives of others. This movie should have recieved much more attention when it was in the theaters and Jones should have recieved an Oscar nomination for his preformance.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this is a really great movie! i watched it after reading the book, and was impressed how accurate and true to the novel it was.Published 2 months ago by enid boring
Good book about apartheid but boring if you have to read it for school.Published 5 months ago by Jake Bowling
One of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Excellent acting and a script that would touch the most hardened heart.Published 7 months ago by Edmund
a little dated but a powerful story, as good as the book in most waysPublished 9 months ago by Jeffrey R. Fischman
One of the great movies and maybe James Earl Jones' best movie of all time and he has made some good one.Published 10 months ago by Fred H. Conger