The Defiant Ones (1958)

I watched The Defiant Ones movie because Desmond Tutu referred to it as one of the visual influences in his upbringing and the formation of his racial awareness. There are mainly two moving scenes: 1. As the black inmate is pulled out the river by the chained white companion, he thanks the white man, to which the white man replies: ‘Thanks for what? I didn’t pull you out, I prevented you from pulling me in.’ The second scene happens when they are freed from each other, their chains broken, but they have become bound by their soul and fate. As the white inmate falls down in exhaustion, urging the black fellow to move on without him, the black inmate holds out his arm stretched toward him, and says: ‘com’on, get up, you’re holding up the chain.’ The two main actors display an excellent classic performance, and it’s hard to forget their faces at these two scenes, once you’ve seen them. It’s a movie from 1958 and while it attempts the emancipation of race, it also displays a flaw in another way, and documents a shameful stereotype of gender. As the two prisoners reach a single woman’s home, she immediately falls in love with the white prisoner, then becoming hysterical etc. Race before gender, a tough bitter pill to swallow for the ladies, but a classic race movie with two tough guys.

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