The Green PasturesDirector: Marc Connelly, William Keighley, Rex Ingram, Oscar Polk
The Green Pastures began life as a group of "revisionist" Biblical stories titled Ol' Man Adam and His Chillun, written in exaggerated Negro dialect by white humorist Roark Bradford. These Old Testament stories were purportedly told from the point of view of an elderly black Sunday School teacher, who translated the Biblical prose into words that his congregation ("untutored black Christians" was Bradford's description) could readily understand. Thus, "De Lawd" behaves very much like a Southern black Baptist preacher; Heaven is a wondrous bayou-like land of big cigars and eternal fish fries; "Cap'n" Noah is a languid ferryboat skipper who argues with De Lawd over the advisability of bringing along a couple of kegs of liquor on the Ark; and the court of the Pharoah is redefined as a "Mystic Knights of the Sea" type lodge hall, with Moses introduced as a "conjure man." It is, of course, a white man's perspective on black life, but both the original "Ol' Man Adam," and the subsequent Pulitzer Prize-winning stage version written by Marc Connelly and retitled Green Pastures, have a lot more clarity, profundity and spiritual reverence than most "serious" Biblical adaptations. In this 1936 film version of the Connelly play, Rex Ingram is nothing less than brilliant as De Lawd, speaking the most ludicrous of lines with dignity and quiet authority. Others in the all-black cast include Eddie "Rochester" Anderson as Noah, Frank Wilson as Moses, George Reed as Rev. Deshee, and Oscar Polk as Gabriel, who has the film's single most stirring line: "Gangway! Gangway for de Lawd God Jehovah!" Unlike many other so-called racist films of decades past, The Green Pastures nearly always charms and captivates its modern-day audiences; even the most adamant of "P.C" advocates will probably thoroughly enjoy the experience. Playwright Marc Connelly is credited as director of Green Pastures, as he was for the original stage version, but co-director William Keighley and director of photography Hal Mohr deserve most of the credit for the film's strong cinematic sense.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Warner Archives
- Region Code:
- [Full Frame]
- Sales rank:
Cast & Crew
|Eddie "Rochester" Anderson||Noah|
|George H. Reed||Mr. Deshee|
|Edna M. Harris||Zeba|
|James Fuller||Cain the Sixth|
|George Randol||High Priest|
|Ida Forsyne||Mrs. Noah|
|Billy Cumby||Abraham,King of Babylon,Head Magician|
|Slim Thompson||M.C./Man on Ground|
|Hall Johnson Choir||Actor|
|George J. Amy||Editor|
|Milo Anderson||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Stanley Fleischer||Art Director|
|Hall Johnson||Score Composer|
|Erich Wolfgang Korngold||Score Composer|
|Allen Saalburg||Art Director|
|Jack L. Warner||Producer|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
The first reviewer of this film called it "Politically Insensitive", but went on to, not once but twice, refer to African-Americans as "Negroes". Makes you wonder. Anyway, this is a gorgeous film, very rarely on cable, and Definitely worth a look.
If you can look past the outdated stereotypical characters, this is one of the best Bible Stories ever to grace the silver-screen. Not only is the plot true to the Holy Word, it captures what may truly be God's feelings and viewpoint of how the whole thing went down.
First saw this film in the mid eighties - it's a must see, if it's still available in b/w that's the way to see it - you pay attention to the story and not the fact that the color is off. I'd highly recommend this to anyone with small children and you're just not sure they're understanding what's happening in Sunday school.
This misunderstood film is a charming telling of classic bible stories told from the point of view of (rural) Black Americans at the early part of the 20th century, with an all star cast.
such a stereotypical movie could never make it today. it is a lampoon of negroes. i saw this picture when i was 12 years old. it cast a pall over me for days. i just knew negroes were not typical as shown.it is interesting to note/see that such a pic was made 'that way' see it.