Take a Giant Step

Today I talk about Take a Giant Step for The American Experience on Film Blogathon! as it reflects upon the many things about america in this movie that stars many amazing stars. There is many diffrent parts to the American Experience which can be reflected upon in many movies so lets review this wonderful gem. I would love thank the wonderful host of event n also ask you check the many other posts of the event linked in picture below. so lets review this gem


Take a Giant Step had previously been on the fringes of my radar, mainly due to it being a Globe nominee for Supporting Actress (much more on that shortly) I had seen it on criterion channel recently as it had a headliner area based on movies starring ruby Dee.  This review may contain spoilers. Black high schooler Spencer Scott (Nash) gets expelled for arguing with a white teacher and smoking in the bathroom after leaving the classroom. Too ashamed to tell his father (Frederick O’Neal) at work, he goes home and tells his troubles to his beloved grandmother (Estelle Hemsley). As he does so, a group of his white classmates drop by, and he confronts them about not coming around more often. When one of them reveals that his girlfriend’s father is a racist, Spencer angrily throws them out. He then borrows money from “Gram,” packs a bag, and goes across town to the black neighborhood, which his parents had moved out of in order to give him more opportunities.

Take a Giant Step (1960) - Turner Classic Movies

He ends up at a bar, where he first chats with a group of prostitutes anxiously trying to round up clients, and then with a young woman (Ellen Holly) he’s attracted to. He suggests they form a relationship, and perhaps even marry, but she reveals that she’s already (unhappily) married, and looking for an evening’s diversion. Now rather tipsy, he leaves and encounters the prostitutes, one of whom, Violet (Pauline Meyers), takes him home with her, but he hardly computes her intentions and leaves, having haggled a dime out of her for bus fare. He goes home, where he’s confronted by his father and mother (Beah Richards), who’ve heard from the school; his father is enraged to the point of violence, while his mother is aghast at his talking back to a white person. After a heated argument, Spencer goes to his room, and Gram confronts his parents, arguing they’ve been too focused on giving him material advantages to attend to his emotional needs. They back down and attempt to reconcile with him, but the exertion of the day causes Gram to have a fatal heart attack, leaving Spencer devastated.

TAKE A GIANT STEP Review – **½ – If You Want the Gravy…

Some days later, he’s telling his troubles to Christine (Ruby Dee), the Scotts’ housekeeper, and she opens up about her own past, including the loss of her husband and stillborn child. Spencer confesses his attraction to her, and it’s ambiguous as to whether she reciprocates. But since the family no longer needs a housekeeper, Mrs. Scott lets her go, then tells Spencer that she invited some of his friends over for cake and ice cream. He argues with her, claiming she’s trying to bribe them, and runs out, catching up to Christine. He asks to go with her, but she talks him down and bids him farewell. He goes home, where he has a hesitant but civil reconciliation with his friends and a warmer one with his mother.

Ellen Holly plays a very unhappy... - Vintage Black Glamour

Riding the tide of teen flicks that followed Rebel Without a Cause, Take a Giant Step touches on similar tropes of youthful angst, but through the vantage point of a newly desegregated student population. Honestly, the script for the film – written by Louis S. Peterson from his play as it plays like rebel without a cause but with a look upon the racism of the time. Take a giant step is a coming of age movie where the passionate teen has justified cause to rebel and angst against.  There is a point in all of our lives where we learn about the racism that exists in the world. ‘Giant Step’ brings to light those prejudices through the experiences of Spence, a black 17 year old boy raised in middle class suburbs who seems like any other boy. This movie is a must see movie that you has such wonderful acting and direction that you should watch today. I Enjoyed talking about this movie as it’s a wonderful gem

5 thoughts on “Take a Giant Step

  1. Pingback: The American Experience on Film Blogathon is Here! – MOON IN GEMINI

  2. Pingback: The American Experience on Film Blogathon – Day One – MOON IN GEMINI

  3. I can’t believe this film has never been on my radar. (Especially since Ellen Holly is in it–I remember her from my days watching soap operas!) I will definitely check it out based on your glowing review. Thanks for contributing to the blogathon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.