Movie Details

This film version of the successful stage play was written by and stars Ossie Davis as Purlie Victorious, a flamboyant, self ordained minister. Along with wife Lutibelle (Ruby Dee), he returns to Georgia to buy an old barn and convert it into a church. He seeks out Captain Cotchipec (Sorrel Booke), the aging plantation owner entrusted with a $500 inheritance left by the preacher's sister after her death. Lutibelle is talked into posing as a long-lost cousin to get the money quickly from the dying landowner. Comedian Godfrey Cambridge reprises his stage role as the black plantation straw boss who pays lip service in the presence of the Captain but mercilessly mock the old man behind his back. Lutibelle gets the money from the old man with the help of his sympathetic son Charlie (Alan Alda), who is as liberal and progressive as his father is racially intolerant.. Religious hypocrisy, racial bigotry, civil rights issues and the changing Southern society backed by forced integration are subjects in this film that coincided with the turbulent social issues of the time. The title is taken from the first line of Stephen Foster's sentimental classic "Old Black Joe." The film was released nearly one hundred years after the famous songwriter's death. Produced and directed by Nicholas Webster, most of the actors reprised their roles from the original stage production. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi