The Defiant Ones (1958)
Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 16
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 3
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 1
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 4,952
Convicts Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier escape from a chain gang. Curtis' character, John "Joker" Jackson, hates blacks, while Poitier's character, Noah Cullen, hates whites. However, the men are manacled together, forced to rely on each other to survive. Captured at one point by a lynch-happy mob, the convicts are rescued by Big Sam (Lon Chaney Jr.), himself a former convict. The men are later sheltered by a lonely, love-hungry widow played by Cara Williams, who offers to turn in Cullen if
Sep 24, 1958 Wide
Dec 11, 2001
MGM Home Entertainment
John "Joker" Jackson
Sheriff Man Muller
Captain Frank Gibbon...
Lon Chaney Jr
Carl "Alfalfa" Switz...
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Kramer was never much of a director, but there's still power in some of the performances, especially Poitier's.
The suspense of the manhunt in the swamps never really overcomes the dead weight of Kramer's 'message', but pleasures are to be found in the supporting roles of McGraw and Chaney.
Boasting strong performances from Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis, this interracial drama of two escaped convicts is Stanley Kramer's most satisfying film, deservedly nominated for and winning Oscars.
Tony Curtis' acting is borderline awful. His famous Bronx accent bleeds through his faux Southern one like a bloody shirt, and he continually grits his teeth in a failed attempt to show the character's self-loathing.
Although an advance on Hollywood's usual treatment of racial themes, the script is too message-laden and the direction (by do-gooder Kramer) too single-minded and naively optimistic to really work.
Given the era of this movie, it was a controversial topic and a theme that Kramer handles courageously. He does a good job of showcasing Poitier and Curtis in their prime and the film's Oscar-winning cinematography is crisp and outstanding.
Poitier and Curtis are great. Whoever thinks Curtis is just a pretty face should see his gripping performance.
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