The moment when Sidney Poitier joined him on the stage was magical and moving. I watch and I think about the years of life experiences between the 2, and the countless stories they could tell the rest of us that would probably trump any work of fiction.
Maybe it’s just the filmmaker in me, but I also immediately imagined both of them on screen, together again. It’s been a very long time – “Uptown Saturday Night” I believe was the last film Harry Belafonte and Poitier both appeared in. That was 40 long years ago. And before that, there was “Buck and the Preacher,” a favorite of mine, released in 1972.
Granted, both have, we could say, moved on to perform beyond the screen, each involved in various humanitarian efforts, now in what are likely the final years of their lengthy and full lives – the kind that most of us would wish we’d get to live before we get to where they are currently.
I’d like to think both have even 1 more film in them, hopefully made together; and maybe others from their generation, who are still around, can join the party. People like Diahann Carroll, Melvin Van Peebles, and a few others. I can only imagine what that project would be.
But when Harry Belafonte speaks, I listen. We all should. Here he is accepting the the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 2014 Governors Awards, over the weekend, on Saturday, November 8. And as you’d expect, his acceptance speech moves. Below that video clip, watch Belafonte, Poitier, join James Baldwin, Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, Joseph Mankiewicz, and David Schoenbrun, discuss the Civil Rights March on Washington, in an August 28, 1963 roundtable.
They just don’t quite make them like these anymore…