The Black Kino Fist: Black life as depicted in film history

Band of Angels (1957)

Starting with The Birth of a Nation (1915), American Civil War-themed films have flowed steadily onto movie screens. Band of Angels (1957), starring Clark Gable, Yvonne De Carlo and Sidney Poitier under Raoul Walsh's direction, is the one that has never been able to climb out from under unfavorable, if inevitable, comparisons to Gone with the Wind (1939). Apart from attempting to recycle Gable's Rhett Butler as a roguish Southerner trying, however belatedly, to do the right thing, it stems as well from a Southern perspective, Margaret Mitchell's novel in the case of Gone with the Wind, Robert Penn Warren's in the case of Band of Angels. The War laps more distantly at the edges of the latter. The combat we see in Band of Angels is not between soldiers. Although the Civil War's root issues of racism and slavery sit balefully at its center, Band of Angels is mostly focused on domestic and romantic embroilments. If the civil rights movement can be heard knocking at its door in the person of a defiant educated slave played by Poitier, the film's soapy melodramatics are closer to Madame X than Malcolm X. 
- Jay Carr for TCM
Status: Available for purchase
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