Native Son (1951)
dir. Pierre Chenal, 1951
NR, 91 min, Argentina, in English, and Spanish with English subtitles.
One of the most controversial novels of its day, Richard Wright’s Native Son (first published in 1940) exposed the injustices of urban African-American life, witnessed through the eyes of Bigger Thomas, whose violent tendencies and moral confusion were the natural result of a lifetime of deprivation. In prison for murder and sentenced to death, Thomas reflects on the circumstances that led to his fate.
Kino Lorber presents a new restoration of the 1951 film version of the novel, directed by Pierre Chenal and starring Richard Wright as Bigger Thomas. It is presented in association with the Library of Congress, Fernando Martin Peña and Argentina Sono Film. Special thanks to Edgardo Krebs for his years of research into the making of Native Son, and for being a tireless champion of its restoration and re-release.
The film is preceded by a special introduction by film historians Eddie Muller (Film Noir Foundation) and Jacqueline Najima Stewart (co-curator of Kino Lorber’s Pioneers of African-American Cinema collection), courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.