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Native Son – A United Theatre Virtual Screening Event
October 9 @ 8:00 am - November 6 @ 5:00 pm$10
A film by Pierre Chanel | Argentina | English | 1951 | 108 minutes | Rental Price: $10
One of the most controversial novels of its day, Richard Wright’s NATIVE SON (published in 1940) exposed the injustices of urban African American life, witnessed through the eyes of Bigger Thomas, whose violent tendencies and moral confusion were the inevitable result of generations of institutionalized racism. Kino Lorber presents a new restoration of the film, presented in association with the Library of Congress, Fernando Martin Peña and Argentina Sono Film. The film is preceded by a special filmed introduction by film historians Eddie Muller (Film Noir Foundation) and Jacqueline Stewart (co-curator of Kino Lorber’s PIONEERS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CINEMA), courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.
Raised in the slums of Chicago, small-time hoodlum Bigger Thomas (Richard Wright) is offered an opportunity for advancement when he is hired as chauffeur for the Daltons, a family of wealthy liberals. While putting the intoxicated daughter Mary (Jean Wallace) to bed after an evening of nightclubbing, Thomas is in a panic, fully realizing the impossible risk he has been forced to take, and he accidentally suffocates her. He burns her body in a furnace to hide the evidence and blames her disappearance on kidnappers. After confessing the crime to his girlfriend Bessie (Gloria Madison), who encourages him to turn himself in to the police, Thomas murders her and disposes of her body in an abandoned building. Bigger is inevitably apprehended, jailed, and, despite the efforts of a Communist attorney (Don Dean), is sentenced to die. Imprisoned and visited by his family, Thomas reflects on the circumstances that led to his fate.