Cinema: Mountain Highness

SHOOT TO KILL

Maybe it is only Sidney Poitier's decade-long absence from the screen that has made one's heart grow fonder. Even in his 60s, Poitier registers a cool, commanding presence. His arrogant authority is undiminished, even enhanced, by being more loosely coiled now. If he still seethes and snaps at the world's stupidity, there are new notes of mellowness in his playing. And why not? The repressions inherent in his old celebrity as the movies' only black leading man have been lifted by the success of Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, actors who have not had to be on their...

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