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Brother John (1971)

PG-13 | | Drama, Sci-Fi | 15 August 1971 (Sweden)
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2:35 | Trailer
A man who returns to his hometown for a funeral may have a much larger purpose in life than those around him can see.

Director:

James Goldstone

Writer:

Ernest Kinoy
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sidney Poitier ... John Kane
Will Geer ... Doc Thomas
Bradford Dillman ... Lloyd Thomas
Beverly Todd ... Louisa MacGill
Ramon Bieri ... Orly Ball
Warren J. Kemmerling ... George
Lincoln Kilpatrick ... Charley Gray
P. Jay Sidney P. Jay Sidney ... Rev. MacGill
Richard Ward ... Frank
Paul Winfield ... Henry Birkardt
Zara Cully ... Miss Nettie
Michael Bell ... Cleve
Howard Rice Howard Rice ... Jimmy
Darlene Rice Darlene Rice ... Marsha
Harry Davis Harry Davis ... Turnkey
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Storyline

John Kane (Sidney Poitier) always seems to know when there will be a death in his family, despite not being in touch with them, and returns to his hometown. He has come home again, to be at his sister's deathbed and funeral. There is a strike in the town, and the police think he is a labor agitator. His well-used passport and unusual book collection only fuel their suspicions. But the town's doctor has always noticed that John is different, and thinks he has a larger purpose in life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Brother John just blew into town...and the town is about to blow apart!

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 August 1971 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Kane See more »

Filming Locations:

Marysville, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures, E&R See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Columbia Pictures was denied the use of the name Kane for this picture by a 3-man industry panel on April 24, 1970. RKO claimed the moniker would be detrimental to the movie Citizen Kane (1941) which was still in re-issue. Variety, May 20, 1970. See more »

Quotes

John Kane: What do you want from me Doctor Thomas? I can't tell you anything.
Doc Thomas: I know. You might just be a paranoid schizophrenic, and I might be a senile psychotic sharing your delusion.
John Kane: That's possible.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in McCloud: Top of the World, Ma! (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Children of the Summer
Music by Quincy Jones and lyrics by Ernie Sheldon
Performed by Clydie King
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User Reviews

Well done; Poitier and Geer and great, especially together
22 March 2011 | by vchimpanzeeSee all my reviews

In a Southern town, kindly old Doc Thomas is giving an elderly woman what appears at first to be a routine examination. But then he must tell her, in his caring way, that she is too far gone and while they can try, she needs to prepare for the worst.

The woman's brother John cannot be found. And yet somehow he has always managed to show up when someone he cared about died. This time is no exception; while the family wonders how to contact him, John is already in his sister's hospital room.

After the funeral, John stays around for a while, which is unusual for him. He entertains a group of school kids by telling about his adventures in Africa and showing them the culture of the people he met. The kids' teacher seems to be an old girlfriend, and the possibility exists of the romance rekindling.

Doc Thomas should probably give up his practice, and the townspeople know this. He may not be senile yet, but he is showing a decline.

Meanwhile, the union at an area factory appears ready to strike. The black workers aren't treated well, and some of the cops in town are racist. There may be trouble. Will John's presence help or hurt the situation?

Sidney Poitier gives his usual masterful performance. And Will Geer does an outstanding job overall, even holding his own with the great Poitier in a powerful scene near the end.

We never really learn what John does or why he seems to have supernatural abilities. All we know is that he is very intelligent and has lived many places and done many things.

There are plenty of other good performances and good writing.

It's worth seeing.


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