“They’ll Take On the Guns of the Whole Damned West After They Take On Each Other”: Buck & the Preacher in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Tuesday, May 22 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Sidney Poitier • 1972
A very loose Western adaptation of the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, Buck and the Preacher stars Sidney Poitier as a former soldier leading black wagon trains to unsettled territories in Kansas with his wife Ruby Dee and the very squirrely Harry Belafonte. Joseph Sargent was originally slated to direct this Columbia Pictures/Belafonte Enterprises co-production, but was fired by Harry Belafonte and replaced by Poitier shortly after the production began filming in Mexico. The first Western directed by an African American for a major studio, Buck and the Preacher is most decidedly not a blaxploitation film, though it is one of the only Westerns to seriously portray the role of African Americans in the West, and a great revisionist Western in its own right. Reflecting the delicate line that Poitier’s film had to walk in the marketplace, the New York Times sought to reassure genre fanatics that Buck was a “loose, amiable, post‐Civil War Western with a firm though not especially severe Black Conscience. The film is aware of contemporary black issues but its soul is on the plains once ridden by Tom Mix, whom Poitier, astride his galloping horse, his jaw set, somehow resembles in the majestic traveling shots given him by the director.” With music by jazz legend Benny Carter and the most intense harmonica playing you’ve ever heard over opening credits by Sonny Terry. (JA)
102 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Short: Production Featurette for Duel at Diablo (Ralph Nelson, 1966) – 7 min – 16mm

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