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Cry the Beloved Country

4.4 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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(Oct 11, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

In a land torn by hatred and injustice, James Earl Jones and Richard Harris are two fathers—one a man of peace, the other a man of power and privilege—whose lives seem destined for a violent collision. But instead, in the wake of a tragic killing, these extraordinary men form an unlikely union...and together find the kind of understanding that could heal a nation. Based on the acclaimed novel, you'll find this electrifying motion picture both entertaining and inspiring.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Harris, James Earl Jones
  • Directors: Darrell Roodt
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005GRF3DG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,999 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 4, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This adaptation of Alan Paton's best selling novel is superior to the 1951 version starring Sidney Poitier, though that earlier adaptation is also excellent. Here, Richard Harris gives a sharply drawn performance as a hard nosed, well to do landowner in South Africa with a somewhat negative attitude toward the native population. James Earl Jones gives a beautifully nuanced, sensitive performance as a simple, country preacher who is described by a colleague as simply the "best man he ever met".

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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Darrell Roodt chose carefully when it was time to direct the first film of South Africa after the abolition of Apartheid. Alan Paton's novel was first filmed in 1951, and "Cry the Beloved Country" is a tale that seems as much a part of the South African collective zeitgeist as Twain or Hemingway or Steinbeck is part of America's.

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.
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Format: VHS Tape
I remember seeing the trailers for "Cry, The Beloved Country," in the theater before it came out, later I realized I missed my chance to see it on the big screen when I saw it in the video store. I can only imagine the impact this movie would have on me if I had seen it on the big screen.
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.
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