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The Green Pastures Reviews

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, this is The Gospel According To Marc--Connelly, that is. Using a series of brief sketches by Roark Bradford, Connelly and coscreenwriter Gibney fashioned an interesting--though grossly racially stereotyped--account of the Bible using an all-Black cast. The film takes place in a sunday school where the teacher begins telling biblical stories from the Old Testament. As he speaks, all of the characters come to life, portrayed by notable Black actors of the period. On the stage, De Lawd was played by Richard Berry Harrison but he passed away before the film was shot and his role was undertaken by Ingram, who also played Adam and Hezdrel. All of the dialogue is done in archaic Southern Black colloquialisms with much talk of ten cent "seegars" and fish-fries and expressions like "Gangway for de Lawd God Jehovah." We see the tales of Joshua at Jericho, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Noah, Adam and Eve, Moses, and even Gabriel (whom De Lawd God refers to as "Gabe"). In many ways, this is one of the best biblical films ever done. Mostly because it doesn't preach, just entertains, and in doing that, puts its lessons across with a minimum of effort. One of the best elements of the movie is the music by the Hall Johnson Choir, which functions as sort of a Greek Chorus, singing tunes like "When the Saints Go Marching In," "Let My People Go," "Joshua Fit de Battle of Jericho" and many more.