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A year before they shot to stardom in Carmen Jones, Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonté made this inspiring film about a gifted educator and a lost boy. Dandridge plays Jane Richards, a fourth-grade teacher concerned about young C.T. (Philip Hepburn), a student whose indifference to school has even the principal (screen-debuting Belafonté) calling him a backwards child. Troubles as typical as a schoolyard brawl and as tragic as a classmate's death drive C.T. further into his shell. But Jane perseveres, hoping to help her student develop - the same way a caterpillar, in a cocoon C.T. guards, turns into a butterfly. One of the few mainstream films of its era to have a largely African-American cast, Bright Road boasts impressive talents behind the camera as well as on the screen, including director of photography Alfred Gilks, lensing his first feature-length film since winning an Academy Award(r)* for An American in Paris.
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Barbara Ann Sanders