Nothing But a Man

Director: Michael Roemer
Year Released: 1964
Rating: 3.0

Railroad worker Duff Anderson (Ivan Dixon) starts going on dates with schoolteacher Josie Dawson (Abbey Lincoln) and then visits his drunkard father Will (Julius Harris) and four-year-old son in Birmingham - later, he and Josie get married and Duff leaves his well-paying old gig but finds getting and keeping a job is especially difficult, considering how racist and condescending the locals can be.  Although I think it's a smidge too leisurely paced, this is precisely the kind of indie from the 1960's that modern filmmakers wanting to make socially-conscious movies should study closely: it makes its points without resorting to hysterics or patting itself on the back for being on the "right side of history" (the way many of the characters say "boy" is intentionally infuriating).  Director Roemer, who is German and Jewish, was transported out of Berlin prior to World War II and surely found inspiration from his past to "identify" with an outsider like Duff - in fact, as of this writing (it's December of 2023), both he and his co-screenwriter (and cinematographer) Robert M. Young are in their mid-to-late nineties.  Good on you gents, you made a fine one here....