Michael Roemer’s 1964 drama is an indie-cinema milestone, bringing an incisive grasp of place, period and performance to its up-close portrait of emergent black pride.
Ivan Dixon is hugely affecting as Duff, an itinerant railroad worker in Alabama who marries teacher-and-preacher’s daughter Josie (Abbey Lincoln) despite disapproval on all sides.
Roemer acutely details the pressures weighing on Duff and draws a crackling cameo from Milton Williams as his sozzled dad, but histrionics are smartly withheld – and the measured end note of bruised hope packs a greater punch for it.
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