I can’t seem to get healthy these days. Only one movie today, and I’m honestly surprised I even managed to get through that. I can’t seem to get over my exhaustion and once again find myself with a fever barely able to get out of bed. Sorry this one is going to be quick, but at least yesterday’s post was a longer one to make up for it.
Buck and the Preacher (1972, Dir. Sidney Poitier)
I honestly had no idea before today that Sidney Poitier ever directed, but it turns out that not only has he, Buck and the Preacher is the first of his nine features, the first five of which he also starred. While as an actor, Poitier was exceptional, in his first outing in the director’s chair, he ended up producing a rather by the numbers western film, albeit one with a much Blacker cast than most.
Poitier plays Buck a wagon master who makes a living guiding free slaves through the frontier to a better life in the west. After the group he’s in charge with is robbed by a white town who need the former slaves to work for cheap labor, Buck joins a con-man preacher (Harry Belafonte) to exact revenge on the attackers and take back the group’s seed money. While the story is fine, it’s also unremarkable. Every beat is predictable and would fit well into a weekly western lineup. Likely the only reason the film has stayed relevant through the years is the novelty of a western telling a Black story and the acting pedigree of the director.