Herein lies my quandary. How can you adequately define or explain a classic? Truly there are no words yet written to adequately describe the experience that "A Raisin in the Sun" will bring about. Walter lee Younger (Sidney Poiter) is living in his parents' cramped two bedroom apartment with his mother, his sister, his wife & their son. The good life for Walter always seems fleeting. Let's face it, life in 1961 for a Black man & his family was no easy task. Walter is a man with dreams & plans for great success but without the economic means to bring them about. Currently, he and a couple of friends hatch a plan to start a drinking establishment/bar. From their position, there has never been a better moneymaking venture. The plan is for the three of them to each invest $10,000. His friends seem to be able to come up with the funds and when the mail arrives today, he too will be able to join the investors in making their dream a reality, or so he thinks. For the time being, with nothing but dreams at his disposal, he is generally disagreeable to everyone for, none of them can see his vision from his standpoint. As such, Walter Lee Jr. is not at all a happy man. That is until the day that check arrives. You see, Walter Lee Younger, Sr. died & left a $10,000.00 inheritance by way of an insurance policy. Walter Lee Jr. sees all his dreams coming true once that check makes it's way into his hands. Walter Lee JR's mother however has other plans. A staunch Christian she will have nothing at all to do with Walter's plans to invest her husband's economical essence in a beer garden. Then there's Walter's wife (Ruby Dee) who is both expecting a new baby & preparing for its abortion given the poor economic situation they have found themselves in. Coupled with her husband's gross indifference & callous attitude there seems to be no other answer. Walter's sister is a curious one. Given her quick changes of opinion & attitude, you might call her flighty. One moment she is welcoming the "warriors" home via an African welcoming dance, the next she is tearing at her brother's ideas. Then even later, she is aspiring to be a physician, musician, and photographer and pretty much anything that strikes her fancy at the moment. The central figure in this family is Walter's mother, Lena Young (Claudia Mcneil). There has never been a stronger cinematic mother than she. Through it all, Lena has held her family together, and she's not about to lose them now. A Raisin in the Sun is a timeless classic that has worn its age very well.
The audio is presented in a digitally remastered 2 channel stereo platform. Nothing special about it's presence really. The audio is clean & clear. Every word spoken is crystalline in its presentation. Pretty good for a 59-year-old film!
Both the widescreen & pan & scan version of the film are on the disc. For my review I selected the widescreen. There was a fair amount of flecking & scratches that were evident throughout the print. Closer to the end of the picture, there was an instant where the film itself jumped. Somewhat reminiscent of when the films where shown on reel to reel projectors. Other than that the stark black & white contrasts I have come to expect with B&W DVD's was not evident. Not that the picture was lacking in that portion of it's presentation but it seemed a little yellow & soft for my tastes. I do want to state that that in light of the imperfections in the print of the film it is still anamorphically rendered & I'm incredibly happy to have the movie on disc! Slight imperfections aside, Raisin in the Sun is entirely watchable & entirely enjoyable!
The extras included on the disc are limited to trailers for the feature & other Poitier films as well as talent files on the director, Sidney Poitier & Ruby Dee.
A Raisin in the Sun is an incredible piece of filmmaking. Already an award winning & highly acclaimed stage play, A Raisin in the Sun perfectly portrays Black life in 1961. The wealth of emotions & life struggles that are demonstrated are emotionally wrenching to be sure. This is just one example of just how awesomely talented Sidney Poitier is. His portrayal of Willie Lee Younger, Jr. is so impassioned & believable, he literally becomes the character he is portraying! These are easily some of the finest performances ever put to the screen! Very Highly recommended!