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'Intruder in the Dust' and 'The Learning Tree' are being released on DVD

The landmark films are being released on DVD in honor of Black History Month.

January 31, 2011|By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
  • Gordon Parks, a photographer, author, poet and composer, on April 4, 1968.
Gordon Parks, a photographer, author, poet and composer, on April 4, 1968. (Associated Press )

Two rarely seen but important films dealing with African Americans — "Intruder in the Dust" (1949) and "The Learning Tree" (1969) — are making their DVD premieres Tuesday from Warner Archives to celebrate Black History Month.

Based on William Faulkner's novel, "Intruder in the Dust" was one of the first Hollywood films dealing with racial bigotry. Juano Hernandez earned a Golden Globe nomination as best newcomer for his seminal turn as a proud black farmer who is arrested and goes to trial for allegedly killing a white man.

"The Learning Tree" marks the first time a major studio film was directed by an African American. Renowned "Life" photographer Gordon Parks helmed this poignant adaptation of his autobiographical novel chronicling an important year in the life of an African American teenager (Kyle Johnson) growing up in rural Kansas of the late 1920s.

susan.king@latimes.com

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