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Richard Wright's Almos' a Man

3.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Almos A Man

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: LeVar Burton, Madge Sinclair, Robert DoQui, Garry Goodrow, Robert Easton
  • Directors: Stan Lathan
  • Writers: Leslie Lee, Richard Wright
  • Producers: Dan McCann, Robert Geller
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Monterey Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 39 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002VGST4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,149 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Richard Wright's Almos' a Man" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 17, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I am compelled to counter the lone other reviewer with his unfortunate failure to comprehend this superb dramatization of an excerpted passage from Wright's novel, BLACK BOY, now recognized as a modern classic.
Shown as part of the American Short Story series on PBS and, yes, introduced by a fragile and ailing Henry Fonda, the portrayal of a young black man's desire to own a gun, a symbol of what will make him a man, misfires literally and otherwise. The accident leads the boy to flee his home to escape the punishment of the landowner and the fine imposed, and yes, we may wish to know what happens to him, but his running--almos' into manhood--to catch the train, may take him north for safety and a kind of freedom.
Levar Burton, the young star of ROOTS, gives a splendid performance and was likely cast as a result of his popularity following the enormous success of the Haley novel.
The entire series is a masterpiece of the dramatization of short fiction and included "Bernice Bobs Her Hair," F. Scott Fitzgerald's early story starring Shelley Duvall and Bud Cort, "I'm a Fool," the Sherwood Anderson classic starring Ron Howard (before his directing days), and "Who am I this Time," the Vonnegut delight with Christopher Walken and Susan Sarandon.
I recall, too, that during one season of this showcase, the introductions were done by Colleen Dewhurst.
Were these to be re-run on prime time, they would hold up quite beautifully; with such great works of literature treated reverently by directors and actors, why wouldn't they.
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Format: VHS Tape
At fifteen going on sixteen the only thing that Dave wants is to become a man. Tired of plowing the hard ground and sick of the lack of respect he gets from his elders, Dave sees his way of becoming a man by having a gun. A gun has power and will give him the respect he needs.
The dramatization of the short story "Almos' A Man" by Richard Wright places before us the struggle of a young Black boy trying to come into manhood in an environment destined to break his spirit. This coming of age story shows the struggle of an adolescent coming into manhood which is common to all young boys. In this story the struggle is much deeper because we have a Black youth who must deal not only with his personal struggle but also that of a racist environment.
Levar Burton gives an excellent performance of this young boy struggling to come into his manhood. Madge Sinclair plays his stern mother who is willing to bend a little even if her husband disagrees.While watching this story you will be shown the struggles that Black parents have to endure to try and keep their children safe as well as the inner promptings of Dave's misguided sense of what it means to be a man.
Circumstances back fire on Dave as he sees that he lacks the maturity to handle certain things. So what can he do? Where can he go? Can a young Black boy become a man in hostile southern territory especially since he has become a wage slave to the white farmer? Wright challenges us to reflect on this question. Dave's rebelliousness is more than the usual stage of adolescent development. The mere fact of his race makes his choices narrower. Sit back, relax and enjoy "Almos' A Man". See how a boy in a limited world tries to become that which is denied to him and his people.
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Format: VHS Tape
I found the Taj Mahal musical background a very important component of this presentation. Every element is essential in the feeling one gets, but the guitar and harmonica background really enhanced this feeling story. And during the most dramatic scenes, the music definitely punctuates the action.
One can smile at the beginning with Levar Burton's portrayal of boyish enthusiasm, of yearning to have a gun of his own. And then the scenes after he gets the gun, the anticipation of the first shot are especially well done...you know something is going to happen. And then at first, you're smiling, maybe even laughing at the result of that first shot until you slowly realize with the boy what he's done. And then the aftermath in which he must make the choice as to which path into manhood to take.
There is much to absorb in this short film. Although the characters are black and the situation unique because of the racial implications, there is still much that can be applied to any person's life, regardless of time period, race, or sex.
This is one to watch, and watch a second and a third (at least) time to get all that is there.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This PBS production, filmed decades ago in black and white, is based on the famous Richard Wright short story "The Man Who Was Almost a Man." The narrative follows the story closely, and the production deserves praise for its fidelity to Wright's themes. The setting is naturalistic. Dave's home looks like a sharecropper's shack, not a Hollywood conception of one.

The cast give solid performances though I have an issue with LeVar Burton's portrayal of Dave. The character seems five-year-old as he pretends to shoot an imaginary gun. Okay, Wright's character is immature. But he's not developmentally disabled.

The film stock used to make the DVD is somewhat degraded, so it's disappointing as a visual experience.
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