Skip to main content

Ruby Dee Buck and the Preacher

I enjoyed Ruby Dee’s contribution to film projects such as Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, but what left an indelible impression was Buck and the Preacher, directed by Sidney Poitier. 

I found a VHS copy in a ‘marked down’ film bin in a music store in Johannesburg.  It was a good find for an aspiring film producer (at the time) like me.
Buck and the Preacher is about two men who are as different as the sun and the moon, but are forced to stick together because of a dangerous situation, a staple Hollywood storyline. 
Armed and dangerous men are looking for Buck (Sidney Poitier).  His crime is that he helps former slaves who took the road to freedom after slavery was abolished. 
Their masters do not want to accept the new order, so they hire bounty seekers who catch freed slaves and bring them back to plantations for some more free labour.

The preacher (Harry Belafonte) is out there to con them.  There’s a gun in his big bible.  In one scene, he is not pleased that Buck ate his rabbit.
Ruby Dee as Ruth, is Sidney Poitier’s love interest.  He figures that the evil men know his weakness and might try to find him through her.  He gets there too late. 
Buck cannot see that there’s a guy with a gun behind her, but he senses danger.  Sign language also saves the day.  You should see the film to appreciate the cinema, sheer cinema I tell you. 
That’s not all.  Buck, the Preacher and Ruth had to rob a bank for some travelling cash.  Lord have mercy, was I scared?  How can you try to take cubs from mother lion?
There was Ruth, as calm as you please, collecting the money while Buck and the Preacher held them in a steady ‘don’t even think about it’ gaze.  They got away with Ruby Dee riding that horse, freedom on her mind.
Another scene I’ll never forget is when the leader of the Native Americans who helped them reminds Buck how black soldiers in the American army also hunted them down.

‘I ain’t in the army no more,’ said Buck.  The film prompted me to research the dangers freed slaves faced and various American Fugitive Slave Acts. 

Lala ngoxolo Ruby Dee (rest in peace).

By:  Nonqaba waka Msimang.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Black Panther Africa Here and There

Black Panther is about Wakanda a fictionalized country in Africa, but it has delightful snippets of the real Africa.

The movie has tall people, like Kenya’s and Sudan’s sons and daughters. Dora Milaje, the royal guard supervised by Okoye (Danai Gurira) is composed of tall women.Okoye is a common surname or family name in Nigeria, as in Oge Okoye, the actress. There are also scenes where men on horseback are wearing colourful blankets, a common sight in Lesotho, the country surrounded by South Africa.Locals, the Basotho, call these blankets seana marena.The country’s beauty sinks in as one drives from Maseru the capital, up to Leribe and further up the mountains.Great roads too.

Costume design.That’s another snippet about Africa. There is Angela Bassett’s character looking regal, in what is called isicholo in Zulu.Well! it looks like isicholo, a married woman’s headdress. You probably saw the re-mixed version of isicholo in what Beyonce is wearing in the Sorry video. They also speak isiXh…

Black Panther Casting

Chadwick Boseman sure looks like a younger John Kani in Black Panther.That is why the movie won the Best Casting category in my little awards.  Envelope please!

Kani plays King T’Chaka.Boseman is T’Challa, his son.What a striking resemblance.It reminds me of my arrival in New York City some years ago.I used to stare at African Americans because they looked like a cousin, uncle, neighbour, teacher, friend, doctor or someone on the bus. Sure, we learnt about slavery at school, how slave traders stole Africans and how internal wars between chiefs also led to humans being taken to another continent in chains. But being in America, seeing people who look like your world, in Africa, was painful.

“Death is better than bondage.” That is what one character said in Black Panther.Was it Erik Killmonger?I’m not sure but I will double check when I go back.Yes, again.The movie is a cinematic buffet.Don’t talk with your mouth full, as mama would say. We gave the film the Best Casting category for other…

Toddlers And Thanksgiving

Toddlers wail and holler because of boring parents, not because of presumed reasons.

He is wet.
She must be hungry. Toddlers cry because parents are predictable.Getting into the stroller is either good or bad news.Good news if it is going out of the apartment or house to interact with the world, bad news if it is going back home to spend another day fenced in, like convicted criminals.

They can have beautiful pink or blue rooms with toys bought from Toys “R” Us, before the business filed for bankruptcy, but toddlers want more, to touch and feel the world.They itch for adventure. That is why they smile at strangers, extend their tiny hands to touch the bus window, point at dogs and run around the mall with mum in hot pursuit. Toddlers are not born equal.Toddlers in the north of the world spend most of their time indoors staring at blowing snow while their counterparts down south in Africa drive their brothers and sisters crazy, because they want to follow them everywhere.Rain is the only t…