Monday, May 7, 2012

Movies That Inspire Me To Read

When a new movie is released based on a book I've been wanting to read, I'm always struggling to figure out if I want to quickly read the book first or watch the movie first. I'm so often disappointed by the movie version that I've lately found that I enjoy reading the book after even if some of the surprise is taken out of it. Sometimes, though, the decision is taken out of my hands. Sometimes I don't even know a movie I'm watching is based on a book (The Descendants is the most recent example of that) and sometimes I find a movie on television based on a book I've thought about reading but just never picked up. Those are the movies that truly inspire me to go out and buy the books sooner rather than later. Today that movie was the 1995 adaptation of Alan Paton's Cry, The Beloved Country starring James Earl Jones and Richard Harris. Certainly I have heard a lot about the book and have known it to be one of the books I "should" read. But, for some reason, I've just never picked it up.

Cry, The Beloved Country is the story of Stephen Kumalo, an Anglican priest in
South Africa struggling to hold his family together, and his neighbor, wealthy landowner, James Jarvis. Kumalo journeys from his village to Johannesburg to help his sister and find his son who went in search of her previously. He is dismayed to find that his sister has turned to prostitution but his heart is broken when his son, Absalom is arrested for killing Jarvis' son, Arther, a white man working for racial justice. The story, as seen in the movie, is as much about the relationship between the two fathers as it is about the racial situation in South Africa.

For a movie that was made as recently as 1995 and which stars two such powerful actors, I suppose this movie is a bit of a disappointment. In some ways, it had the feeling of a made-for-t.v. adaptation or a 1970's movie. Yet the story is so moving and Jones and Harris such powerful actors, that I was drawn into this intimate story about the damage human cruelty can inflict. A trip to Half-Price Books is in my very near future and I will definitely be looking to bring Cry, The Beloved Country home with me.

No comments:

Post a Comment