Kino Lorber is honoring the legacy of celebrated actor Sidney Poitier, who died Jan. 6 at 94, with the Blu-ray Disc release of five of his classic films, including Lilies of the Field, for which Poitier won an Oscar.
“A pioneering movie star, director, and activist, Poitier’s groundbreaking screen roles paved the way for a generation of Black actors and established him as an entertainment icon,” the independent film distributor said in a statement.
Lilies of the Field, directed by Ralph Nelson, was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The 1963 film landed Poitier a Best Actor win for his portrayal of Homer Smith, an itinerant handyman who while driving through the Arizona desert meets five impoverished nuns. Stopping to fix their leaky farmhouse roof, Homer discovers that not only will the Mother Superior not pay him for the job, but she also wants him to build their chapel — for free! Hesitant at first, Homer soon finds himself single-handedly raising the chapel and the financing.
Also available on Blu-ray Disc from Kino Lorber are For Love of Ivy (1968), a stylish romance in which Poitier plays a high-rolling hustler who is blackmailed into seducing a client’s naive young housekeeper; The Wilby Conspiracy (1975), in which Poitier and Michael Caine play two very different men suddenly bound together and running for their lives in a suspenseful chase thriller set in apartheid-era South Africa; Red Ball Express (1952), a World War II film that marks one of Poitier’s first screen appearances; and Nationtime (1972), a documentary, narrated by Poitier, on the 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana, a historic event that gathered Black voices from across the political spectrum, including Jesse Jackson, Dick Gregory, Coretta Scott King and Isaac Hayes.