Cry, the Beloved Country

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Overview

Alan Paton's classic novel about two fathers coming to terms with personal loss and the emotional scars inflicted on South Africa during the era of apartheid was brought to the screen for a second time with this adaptation, the first major film produced in South Africa after Nelson Mandela's election ended mandatory white rule in that nation. Rev. Stephen Kumalo James Earl Jones is a minister from a poverty-stricken farming community who travels to Johannesburg for the first time in search of his son Absalom Eric...
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Overview

Alan Paton's classic novel about two fathers coming to terms with personal loss and the emotional scars inflicted on South Africa during the era of apartheid was brought to the screen for a second time with this adaptation, the first major film produced in South Africa after Nelson Mandela's election ended mandatory white rule in that nation. Rev. Stephen Kumalo James Earl Jones is a minister from a poverty-stricken farming community who travels to Johannesburg for the first time in search of his son Absalom Eric Miyeni, who moved to the city some time back and has gone missing. Kumalo regards the big city as a den of iniquity, and his low expectations are not betrayed; he is robbed and beaten shortly after he arrives, and when he visits his brother John Charles S. Dutton, he discovers that Absalom has become a petty thief with a pregnant girlfriend, his sister Gertrude Dambisa Kente is a prostitute, and John has renounced his faith in God and advocates the violent overthrow of South Africa's white leadership. James Jarvis Richard Harris -- a wealthy white landowner from the same part of the country as Kumalo -- has also arrived in Johannesburg, also with sad personal business to attend to; his son, a well-liked activist for the rights of the city's black majority population, was killed during a robbery.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Moving performances by James Earl Jones and Richard Harris highlight this tale of racial discord in South Africa in 1946. The plot centers on two men -- James Jarvis (Harris), a wealthy white landowner, and Stephen Kumalo (Jones), a humble black minister -- who cross the separatist divide to confront each other after fear and mistrust cause Kumalo's son to kill Jarvis' son. Although the plot resorts to contrivances to help drive the action, the film delivers a message of hope as relevant today as it was in 1948, the year that Alan Paton (1903-1988) published the novel on which the film is based. Jones and Harris are equally brilliant in portraying men upon whom fate inflicts terrible tragedy. At times, Jones' character -- an earnest, upright Anglican pastor in the impoverished village of Ixopo -- becomes the biblical Job, abiding one seemingly intolerable setback after another as he attempts to reunite his family on a trip to Johannesburg, and Jones plays the role with great power and sensitivity. The film falters badly, though, when it asks viewers to believe that Jarvis, a confirmed separatist, can miraculously reform overnight after reading a letter written by his idealistic son before he died. The letter laments the injustice of separatism and the hypocrisy of whites who espouse Christianity but deny justice to their black neighbors. Not even Harris' intelligent performance can make Jarvis' instant rehabilitation believable. Still, the film has dignity and character, enhanced by good cinematography and a satisfactory John Barry music score. The ending of the film, when Kumalo climbs into the mountains to meet God and pray for his son, is particularly touching.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/11/2011
  • UPC: 096009784096
  • Original Release: 1995
  • Rating:

  • Source: Miramax Echo Bridge
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:46:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Earl Jones Father Stephen Kumalo
Richard Harris James Jarvis
Vusi Kunene Father Msimangu
Leleti Khumalo Katie
Charles S. Dutton John Kumalo
Eric Miyeni Absalom Kumalo
Dambisa Kente Gertrude
Ian Robers Reform Official
Jsepo Gugusha Gertrude's Child
Greg Latter Prosecutor
Ian Roberts Evans
Robert Whitehead Carmichael
Technical Credits
Darrell James Roodt Director
David Barkham Production Designer
John Barry Score Composer
Ray Filipo Costumes/Costume Designer
Paul Gilpin Cinematographer
Ronald Harweed Screenwriter
Ronald Harwood Screenwriter
David Heitner Editor
Graham Hichson Asst. Director
Sudhir Pragjee Producer
Anant Singh Producer
Sanjeev Singh Producer
Richard Sprawson Sound/Sound Designer
Helena Spring Associate Producer
Harry Alan Towers Executive Producer
Marina VanTonder Casting
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. A Letter [6:45]
2. Across The Country [5:31]
3. Johannesburg [6:57]
4. CEO Forgive Us [3:41]
5. Justice and Dignity [5:06]
6. Terrible News [5:07]
7. A Long Walk [6:36]
8. Scattered Whereabouts [5:16]
9. The Inheritor of Fear [7:53]
10. My Son [3:27]
11. A Son's Tribute [5:52]
12. I Cry Too Easly [2:09]
13. Not Guilty! [:48]
14. The Heaviest Burden [4:10]
15. Stay Well, My Son [8:38]
16. Firends Of Friends [5:30]
17. Home Again [3:49]
18. The Fifteenth Day [7:29]
19. End Credits [6:11]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Sneak Peeks
      Play All
      Miramax Tear Of Gold
      Asunder
   Special Features
      Richard Harris Bio
      Original Featurette
      Nelson Mandela At the World Premier
      Hillary Clinton At the World Premier
   Set Up
      Spoken Lanuages
         English
         French
      Captions
         English For the Hearing Impaired
         Captions: None
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of the Best Adapdations from Book to Film

    This is most definitely one of the best book to screen adaptations I have ever seen. Everytime I watch this film I cry. It captures the spirit of Africa and portrays what went on and in some ways still goes on in South Africa. N'kosi sikele Afrika!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews