Conrack (1974)

PG   |    |  Drama

Conrack (1974) Poster

The true story of Pat Conroy, an idealistic beautiful white teacher who is a grade-school instructor for a group of poor black children in an isolated school.


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2 July 2005 | lee_eisenberg
| Martin Ritt and social issues
Martin Ritt seems to be a director who was always interested in social issues (as the son of immigrants, he had every incentive to be so, especially since he was blacklisted in the '50s). "Conrack" is based on Pat Conroy's novel "The Water is Wide", about his own experience in 1969 teaching a school of impoverished black children about the outside world, much to the chagrin of the right-wing superintendent (Hume Cronyn). What added to the movie's strength was the cultural and historical context: Conroy (Jon Voight) frustratedly tells another teacher how many of the children don't know about Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, the Vietnam War, or even where Vietnam is. He proceeds to enlighten them about all these factors.

Somewhere, I read a complaint that when Conroy played music for the children, he only played white music. The truth is, you can't blame the movie for that; it was based on Conroy's real experience. Either way, the movie's a real gem.

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