Release dateJanuary 23, 1952 (US)
April 25, 1952 (UK) WriterAlan Paton (novel), Alan Paton (screenplay), John Howard Lawson (screenplay) ScreenplayAlan Paton, John Howard Lawson CastCanada Lee (Stephen Kumalo), Charles Carson (James Jarvis), Sidney Poitier (Reverend Msimangu), Joyce Carey (Margaret Jarvis) Similar moviesRelated Zoltan Korda movies
TaglineFilmed in Africa...Where It Was Lived!
Cry the beloved country the end
Cry, the Beloved Country is a 1951 British drama film directed by Zoltán Korda. Based on the novel of the same name by Alan Paton, it stars Canada Lee, Sidney Poitier, and Charles Carson. This film was Canada Lee's last film.
In the back country of South Africa, black minister Stephen Kumalo (Canada Lee) journeys to the city to search for his missing son, Absolom, only to find his people living in squalor and Absolom a criminal after committing murder. Kumalo's friend and fellow minister, Reverend Misimangu (Sidney Poitier), is a young South African clergyman who helps find Kumalo's sons and sister-turned-prostitute in the slums of Johannesburg. Both work together to confront the harsh reality of apartheid and what it is doing to both white and black South Africans.
Cast and characters are in order as listed by the British Film Institute.
Canada Lee as Stephen Kumalo
Sidney Poitier as Reverend Msimangu
Charles Carson as James Jarvis
Joyce Carey as Mrs. Jarvis
Geoffrey Keen as Father Vincent
Michael Goodliffe as Martens
Edric Connor as John Kumalo
Lionel Ngakane as Absolom
Vivien Clinton as Mary
Albertina Temba as Mrs. Kumalo
Charles McRae as Kumalo's friend
Ribbon Dhlamini as Gertrude Kumalo
Zoltan Korda's acclaimed smash film was shot entirely in South Africa. Since the country was ruled by strict apartheid (enforced racial separation) laws, stars Sidney Poitier and Canada Lee and producer/director Korda cooked up a scheme where they told the South African immigration authorities that Poitier and Lee were not actors but were Korda's indentured servants; otherwise, the two black actors and the white director could have been arrested, and jailed without trial. It marked the first time a major film was shot in the racially divided country, leading to serious exposure of the terrible conditions there. After the making of this film, Canada Lee planned to make a full report about life in South Africa: he was then called to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee to explain his actions, but died of heart failure before he could testify.
The film was well received by critics, and currently hold a 100% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Those praising the film included Bosley Crowther in the New York Times who stated "It is difficult to do proper justice to the fine qualities of this film or to the courage and skill of Mr. Korda in transmitting such a difficult and sobering theme."
2nd Berlin International Film Festival - Bronze Berlin Bear