There was an early sign of springtime in the morning air.

Today was a better day for cycling and I really needed to be out. I travelled down the B9131 to Anstruther, there was an early sign of springtime in the morning air as I made my way along the coast and up the A917 from Crail. It was a little cold but we (the royal we) were well wrapped up. Today I enjoyed immensely, I only wish I could have done this run on my tricycle, but I think those days have passed.

Oh, and yes the empty buses are still running to a regular time table.

I have always loved movies, and would normally be scouring the charity shops of DVD. Although many of the films I like to watch are now shown on television, but I prefer to watch movies without adverts.

I now have a fair collection of DVDs and I am happy to watch the same ones over and over again, for good moves will always be good movies.

Selecting DVDs is easy you just pick your favourite actors or actresses, no matter the genera. There are some actors and actresses that just command the screen, they dominate the movie no matter their part, In the early, nineteen sixties, the one that stands out for me was,

Sidney Poitier

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Poitier family lived in the Bahamas, when still a British colony, however, Sidney was born in Miami on February 20, 1927, while the family were there for a weekend giving him American citizenship, returning to America, from his childhood home in the Bahamas aged 15 and then New York a year later.

When Poitier first came to America he joined the American Negro Theater, but was not a hit with audiences, he did not act as a Negro actor was supposed to act. His tone-deafness made him unable to sing but he was determined to be an actor and spend many hours casting off his Bahamian accent and months refining his acting skills. This gave him the opportunity to play in the Broadway production Lysistrata, although the play itself was a flop, from his performance he received an invitation to understudy for Anna Lucasta. His big break into films came in 1955 in the Blackboard Jungle.

I was first attracted to Poitier, in A Raisin in the Sun, (1961) then came Lilies of the Field (1963), and Patch of Blue (1965). The following year was for me his best year, To Sir, with Love, (in that we would see and hear Lulu for the first time) and who could ever forget, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, even playing alongside two of the top stars of their day, he shone. And in The Heat of the Night, all brilliant performances, and all helping to turn him into a box- office star. The rest, as they say, is history.

In more recent times another actor has filled my library of DVDs, he would be Denzel Washington.

He burst onto the screen in 1980. I missed all his early acting career and it was not until 1989 when he played Steve Biko, and anti-apartheid activist in the Richard Attenborough – directed drama Cry Freedom, I was hooked. Then followed the slave-turned-soldier in the Civil War movie Glory in 1989, a chain of successes followed in that decade and in 1992 he played the civil rights character in Malcolm X. and the list goes on. I watched again Man on Fire the other night, when he played the tough as hell, burnt-out ex CIA operative John Creasy, as a thriller, they don’t come much better than this, brilliant cast, brilliant acting, and brilliant story-line.

And last but not least, Morgan Freeman.

Acting alongside Tim Robbins in Shawshank Redemption

Born June 1st 1939, in Memphis, Tennessee, Freeman has played in a range of film genres and his distinguishable deep voice lends itself well in his many narrator rolls.

Freeman from a young age acted in school plays, then went on to study theatre art in Los Angeles and appeared in stage productions in his early career. His break came in 1970 in children’s television The Electric Company, and in movies in the film Street Smart 1987, playing a hustler that earned him a best supporting actor. For me, the movies that stand out are Driving Miss Daisy in 1989. The western Unforgiving in 1992 starring alongside Clint Eastwood. And again starring with a Clint Eastwood’s sports drama Million Dollar Baby in 2004. then Nelson Mandela in Eastwood’s Invictus in 2009.

However, for me, the greatest screen moment came acting alongside Tim Robbins in Shawshank Redemption. He is before the parole board for the third time in the film, having served 30 years of a life sentence. He is asked if he believes he has been ‘Rehabilitated’ his answer is possibly the best acting you are likely to see.

Now let me see, rehabilitated, I’m not sure I know what that means …………. Oh, I know what you believe it means, but to me, it’s just a made-up word so that a young man like yourself can wear a suit and have a job……………… to me it’s just a bullshit word. What do you really want to know, I’m I sorry for what I’ve done? (well are you?) Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could go back and speak to that stupid kid and tell him the truth, but I can’t, that kid is long gone all that is left is this old man – so go on stamping your cards sonny and stop waiting my time for, to tell the truth, I don’t give a shit.

Maybe not the exact words, but for me an unforgettable delivery by any actor before or since.

Keep well and keep those pedals turning.

One thought on “There was an early sign of springtime in the morning air.

  1. All 3 great actors but Denzel Washington would definitely be my favourite. I’ve only ever seen him in one film that I didn’t enjoy and that was Training Day. I may give it a go again. Man on Fire is one of my all time favourites and I’ve just watched The Equalizer which I remember from TV starring Edward Woodward. Equalizer 2 is also good but not as gritty as the first.


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