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There's an adaptation of Richard Wright's Native Son on the way:


Richard Wright’s classic novel Native Son will be adapted into a film directed by artist and photographer Rashid Johnson in his directorial debut

Pulitzer Prize winning writer Suzan-Lori Parks will adapt Wright's book for the Bow and Arrow project.

The novel, while first published in 1940, remains timely as it could easily be considered a forerunner to the Black Lives Matter movement. It tells the story of Bigger Thomas, a 20-year old African-American man growing up in poverty on the south side of Chicago and the series of events and decisions that will forever alter his life. 

Bow and Arrow partners Matthew Perniciaro and Michael Sherman will produce the film, with Malcolm Wright and Julia Wright serving as consultants on behalf of The Estate of Richard Wright.

The story mentions the 1986 movie version with Oprah Winfrey, but there was also a 1951 version with Richard Wright as Bigger Thomas. Both are on YouTube, though I am doubtful of the legality of either upload. Here's a trailer for the 1951 version: 



Edited by NBooth
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There are some scene adaptations in The Learning Chanel's GREAT BOOKS series. These are pretty hokey, but the interviews with academics are quite helpful. The series claims that that Wright was offered (20K? 30K?) for the rights in 1930s but only on condition that Bigger be changed to a white protagonist.

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Have always wished Jarmusch would take this on. I think he would do well with how sharp and interior the book is. But Johnson is pretty wonderful, so this is exciting.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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  • 3 years later...

Here's my review of the Kino Lorber 1951 restoration:



Why is it essential then? Every now and hen you get a glimpse of the deeper horrors of the book, even if they are just passing allusions to what the novel insists is omnipresent…the casual racism of the police, the incessant mocking of the reporters, the unconscious condescension of Jan, more grating than even the slumlord’s paternalistic hypocrisy.


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