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A Visit to a Chief's Son

Writing in last December's Village Voice on the small, serious, but neglected films of the '70s, Tom Allen noted that “an...important 1974 shelf casualty, (is) Lamont Johnson's A Visit To A Chief's Son, his best film and one that would have been a sure bet for my 10-best list in any of the intervening years....
“Johnson's A Visit To A Chief's Son is a compact exposition of the clash between cultures when an anthropologist's son begins identifying intimately with his alter ego, a Masai boy at the beginning of puberty. Despite the exotic veldt and the difficulties inherent in directing amateurs - only the father played by Richard Mulligan and Johnny Sekka as his black counterpart are familiar - the film is so tight that each scene expands like a riff on the central theme. The rational, dogged exposition has a distinct Hawksian flavor. There's no loose freight aboard. I heartily recommend it as a compelling example of a directorial vision fully realized in the execution.”

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