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Movie Mom

Remembering Ivan Dixon

posted by Nell Minow

Ivan Dixon, who died this week, is best known for appearing on “Hogan’s Heroes.” But I believe he will be best remembered for his pioneering work as one of the first African-American directors and for his work on behalf of diversity in show business on both sides of the camera. Everyone should see his film “Nothing But a Man,” a brilliant but little-seen 1964 film that frankly explored the pressures and challenges faced by a black man in that pre-Civil Rights Act era. It has a quiet, documentary feel and a brilliant Motown soundtrack but the anchor is Dixon’s performance as a man whose pride cannot be diminished by the constant attempts to erode it. Dixon’s co-star is the lovely jazz singer Abbey Lincoln.

  • brian c

    I still remember seeing this movie when I was a teen. The lead character does not view himself in racial terms as others might, but as simply a man. The sense of frustration this man feels due to racism was communicated subtley and powerfully enough to cause me to empathize with how he was treated. I saw this movie once about 40 years ago and still remember it.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, Brian. You have identified exactly the quality I most admire about the film.

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