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references Barrett, William E. 1963. The Lilies of the Field. 1962. New York: Popular Library. Cripps, Thomas R. 1967. “The Death of Rastus: Negroes in American Films since 1945.” Phylon 28(3): 267-275. http://www.jstor.org/stable/273665. CONCLUSION: In the final “English lesson” involving verb conjugations — “I build a chapel; you build a chapel” — Mother Maria, looking upwards, answers, “He built the chapel,” indicating God’s work. Homer and the nuns reply, “Amen,” and launch into a chorus of the title song. Homer does not challenge this final assertion, perhaps implying that he no longer needs personal recognition for his achievement, having been acknowledged by Mother Maria. In the ending shot, Homer drives off, not into the sunset, but into the night. Is the ending ambiguous as it relates to religious matters or does it reinforce a Western film stereotype of rugged individualism and personal achievement? This irony is reinforced in the closing credits, where “Amen” is substituted for the usual, “The End.” Perhaps, it is in Barrett’s novel that a more complex understanding of Homer’s significance is presented because the chapel is named by Mother Maria after Saint Benedict the Moor, the Italian Franciscan of African descent. The impact of Li lies of the Field goes beyond its entertainment value as a lighthearted vehicle for presenting Sidney Poitier in an Oscar winning leading role. Although it may have been thought that the film could have used a white actor as Homer, the racial elements are clearly determined by Poitier’s presence. Because of the time period in which the film premiered, audiences could not help but recognize the parallels to Poitier’s performance, especially concerning race and the present day civil rights struggle for equality and recognition. Retrospectively, Poitier can be understood as a kind of symbolic double for African Americans in general, and although he played what might be called the role of a saint, he was able to infuse his performance with motifs of resistance and black spirituality. If he were perceived as a kind of savior, he was also performing the role of black masculinity, while assisting the film as it intertwined race, religion, and humor in the modern American West. n Crowther, Bosley. 1963. “Screen: A Disarming Modern Parable: Sidney Poitier Stars in ‘Lilies of the Field.” New York Times, Oct. 2: 45. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Ewers, Carolyn H. 1969. The Long Journey: A Biography of Sidney Poitier. New York: Signet/New American Library. Farley, Anthony Paul. 2000. “Lilies of the Field: A Critique of Adjudication.” Cardozo Law Review 22: 1013-1060. Goudsouzian, Aram. 2004. Sidney Poitier: Man, Actor, Icon. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Ha Rubeni, Ephraim. 1925. “The Lilies of the Field.” Torreya 25(2): 35-38. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40596379. Hoffman, William. 1971. Sidney. New York: Lyle Stuart. Hunter-Lattany, Kristin. 1984. “Why Buckwheat Was Shot.” MELUS 11(3):79-85. http://www.jstor.org/stable/467135. Hurley, Neil P. 1970. Theology Through Film. New York: Harper. Jacket Cover. Lilies of the Field. 1963. Directed by Ralph Nelson. Santa Monica, CA. MGM. DVD. Johnson, Albert. 1965. “The Negro in American Films: Some Recent Works.” Film Quarterly 18(4): 14-30. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1210253. Kelley, Samuel L. 1983. The Evolution of Character Portrayals in the Films of Sidney Poitier: 1950-1978. New York: Garland. Keyser, Les and Barbara. 1984. Hollywood and the Catholic Church: The Image of Roman Catholicism in American Movies. Chicago: Loyola University Press. Leslie, F. Andrew, and William E. Barrett. 1967. The Lilies of the Field. New York: Dramatists Play Service. Mapp, Edward. 2008. African Americans and the Oscars: Decades of Struggle and Achievement. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. Marill, Alvin H. 1978. The Films of Sidney Poitier. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press. Marlett, Jeffrey. 2008. “Life on the Frontier: Lilies of the Field (1963).” In Catholics in the Movies, edited by Colleen McDannell, 149-175. New York: Oxford University Press. Nkosi, Lewis. 1965. “Lewis Nkosi Reflects on the Oscar Won by Sidney Poitier for the Title Role in the Movie Lilies of the Field.” Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. NYPL. Spoken-word Cassette. SC Audio C-101 Side 2, no. 7, counter 29. Transcription Center Catalogue of tapes (Sc016.96-T). O’Neal, Frederick. 1978. “Introduction.” In The Films of Sidney Poitier, by Alvin H. Marill, 8-9. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press. Lilies of the Field. 1963. Directed by Ralph Nelson. Santa Monica, CA. MGM. DVD. Lilies of the Field. Drew’s Script-O-Rama. Sept. 9, 2013. http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/l/ lillies-of-the-field-script.html.the-field-script.html. 2 The DVD by MGM presented a clever way of marketing the film by using implied sexual implications; the cover design features a montage of Homer and one of the younger nuns, suggesting the possibility of a romantic relationship. On the cover, Homer is looking forward in a serious pose, and the nun, standing behind him and slightly to his left, is looking downward in a contemplative mood (Jacket Cover). 3 The reference to “lilies” in the parable has been investigated by Ephraim Ha Rubeni, who argues that because the plant itself, also referred to in Luke 12:27, was not found in Palestine, it could be considered as a daisy and that “Jesus was not referring to any specific plant but to the plants of the field in general” (Ha Rubeni 1925, 35-37). 4 One of the interesting facts about the chapel is the following: “Since the story’s action was tied to the chapel’s construction, workers labored through the night to keep up with its ‘progress.’ Although the chapel could have stood for decades, it was built on rented property and was, therefore, immediately demolished” (“Trivia”). Poitier, Sidney. Interview. Performing Arts Library, Lincoln Center. NYPL. LDC 37526.n.d. —. 1980. This Life. New York: Knopf. Smith, Jeffrey A. 2001. “Hollywood Theology: The Commodification of Religion in Twentieth-Century Films.” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation 11(2): 191-231. http://www.jstor.org/ stable/10.1525/rac.2001.11.2.191. “Trivia.” Lilies of the Field. 2013. IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057251/ trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv. Turner, Patricia A. 1991. “From Homer to Hoke: A Small Step for African American Mankind.” The Journal of Negro Education 60(3): 342-353. http://www.jstor.org/ stable/2295487. BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE 1 The film production also included the following: Lisa Mann as Sister Gertrude; Iso Crino as Sister Agnes; Francesca Jarvis as Sister Albertine; Pamela Branch as Sister Elizabeth; Stanley Adams as Juan; Dan Frazer as Father Murphy; John McCafferty, film editor; photography by Ernest Haller (Kelley 1983, 269). 119 notes