Lilies of the Field, 1963

Starring Sidney Poitier as Homer Smith, this movie won its star a Best Actor Oscar, the first for a black actor in a leading role.

Mother Maria and the sisters are expecting God to build a chapel for them. However, they don’t have enough materials, tools, or manpower to get it done. When Homer Smith shows up to ask for water for his over-heating car, they take it as a sign from God. Homer almost leaves the women to their work, but has a change of heart and turns back to help them. But just for one day. The next day, he is again unable to leave. For several days, his mind is made up that he’s just passing through, but somehow continues to be persuaded that he should stay and help the women build their chapel.

When the chapel is finished, all those who helped build and furnish it could look on the success and enjoy having been a part of it. Except Mother Maria who was already looking forward to the building of a school and a hospital.

I love happy endings. This movie had a grip on me as I tried to figure out what would make someone stay and help the women build a chapel when there was a different plan already stated. Lilia Skala was perfect for the role of Mother Maria since, according to, she was Austria’s first female architect.

Poitier’s acting kept me interested in what he would do next. When he was unhappy, I was unhappy. When he was laughing, I wanted to laugh. No wonder he won the Oscar for his role. He was up against tough competition at the Academy Awards that year, but he earned every bit of that Oscar.

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