The Learning Tree

Overview

Gordon Parks' adaptation of his own novel The Learning Tree stars Kyle Johnson as Newt, a black teenager living in 1920s Kansas. He is an intelligent even-tempered young man who meets the many racial prejudices he faces with composure and pride. His best friend Marcus Alex Clarke is hot-headed and prone to react emotionally when confronted with life's problems. Newt gets into a difficult situation when he witnesses a murder and must decide if he should come forward to clear the man being framed for the crime. ...
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Overview

Gordon Parks' adaptation of his own novel The Learning Tree stars Kyle Johnson as Newt, a black teenager living in 1920s Kansas. He is an intelligent even-tempered young man who meets the many racial prejudices he faces with composure and pride. His best friend Marcus Alex Clarke is hot-headed and prone to react emotionally when confronted with life's problems. Newt gets into a difficult situation when he witnesses a murder and must decide if he should come forward to clear the man being framed for the crime. Doing so would forever change his own life, as well as Marcus'. In 1989, the film was selected to the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
The first major studio production directed by an African-American, The Learning Tree is a solid film that doesn't need that historic fact to be enjoyed. 57 years old when the film was released, photographer-turned-director Gordon Parks took credits as writer, producer, director, and music composer. His next film, the action-filled Shaft, was a huge hit, leaving critics to wonder what other great films he might have been made had been allowed to start his directing career earlier. Unlike Shaft, Parks' work in The Learning Tree is quietly paced and more realistic. It's one of the few films of its era to present an insider's view of black life in the United States. The story is solid, the acting good, and the cinematography by Burnett Guffey superb. The film was not a commercial success, but in 1989, it was one of the first 25 films chosen for protection by the Library of Congress's National Preservation Board.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/1/2011
  • UPC: 883316316986
  • Original Release: 1969
  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Time: 1:47:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 9,235

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kyle Johnson Newt
Alex Clarke Marcus
Estelle Evans Sarah
Dana Elcar Sheriff Kirky
Mira Waters Arcella
Joel Fluellen Uncle Rob
Malcolm Atterbury Silas Newhall
Richard Ward Booker Savage
Russell Thorson Judge Cavanaugh
Peggy Rea Miss McClintock
Thomas Anderson Pastor Broadnap
Don Dubbins Harley Davis
Kevin Hagen Doc Cravens
Zooey Hall Chauncey Cavanaugh
Carole Lamond Big Mabel
Jon Lormer McCormack
George Mitchell Jake Kiner
Felix Nelson Jack Winger
Stephen Perry Jappy
Philip Roye Pete Winger
Saundra Sharp Prissy
Morgan Sterne Mr. Hall
Hope Summers Mrs. Kiner
Dub Taylor Spikey
Technical Credits
Gordon Parks Director, Score Composer, Producer, Screenwriter
Edward D. Engoron Art Director
Burnett Guffey Cinematographer
Tom McIntosh Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Robert Miller Sound/Sound Designer
George Rohrs Editor
Albert J. Whitlock Special Effects
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