A Dry White Season


1h 37m 1989
A Dry White Season

Brief Synopsis

In South Africa, a white schoolteacher's life and values are threatened when he asks about a black boy who died in police custody.

Film Details

Also Known As
Dry White Season, En torr vit årstid, Une Saison blanche et seche
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Political
Thriller
Release Date
1989
Distribution Company
METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER STUDIOS INC. (MGM )/UNITED INTERNATIONAL PICTURES (UIP)
Location
Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom; Harare, Zimbabwe

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 37m

Synopsis

Taking place during the 1976 Soweto uprising, the story follows a white school teacher whose life and values are threatened when he asks questions about the death of a young black boy who died in police custody.

Crew

Bunny Andrews

Music Editor

Edwin Angless

Other

Edwin Angless

Casting Associate

Martin Asbury

Storyboard Artist

Mickey Bacon

Props

Manny Barthod

Script Supervisor

Jonathan Benson

Assistant Director

Leslie Bingham

Dresser

Else Blangsted

Music Editor

Jane Boyle

Makeup

Marc Boyle

Stunt Coordinator

Bobby Bremner

Gaffer

Andre Brink

Source Material (From Novel)

Richard Broome

Grip

Max Brown

Office Runner

David Bryant

Other

Roy Cannon

Props

James Cavarretta

Sound

Dominique Chapuis

Photography

Roy Charman

Sound Mixer

Michel Cheyko

Assistant Director

David Chiganze

Grip

Wiseman Chiweshe

Electrician

Robert Conway

Technical Advisor

Glenn Cunningham

Editor

Elaine Dawson

Wardrobe

Ernie Day

Photography

Manuel Doro

Casting

Tracy Dunn

Assistant Art Director

Kevin Edland

Best Boy

Hilary Eggington

Other

John Fenner

Production Designer

Michael Ferry

Assistant Director

Efstathios Fillis

Assistant Director

Paul Fisher

Transportation Coordinator

Paul Fisher

Location Coordinator

John Flemming

Grip

John Fletcher

Other

Antony Ford

Assistant Director

Adam Fredericks

Assistant Editor

Magdalen Gaffney

Makeup

Elector Garabha

Wardrobe Assistant

Gary S. Gerlich

Sound Editor

Brian Gibbs

Production Accountant

June Givanni

Assistant

Pierre-william Glenn

Dp/Cinematographer

Pierre-william Glenn

Director Of Photography

David Grannis

Sound Editor

Dave Grusin

Music

David Guwaza

Props

Bob Hagen

Color Timer

Graham Hall

Other

Tim Hampton

Executive Producer

Jamie Harcourt

Camera Operator

Jean Harnois

Camera Operator

Barbara Harris

Casting

David Harris

Special Effects Supervisor

John Haylen

Electrician

John Higgins

Gaffer

Pieter Hubbard

Sound Editor

Gary Hutchings

Grip

Derek Ixier

Props

Marianne Jacobs

Production Coordinator

David James

Photography

Peter James

Set Decorator

Jack Keller

Sound

Martin Kenzie

Other

Rory Kilalea

Production Manager

Rick Kline

Sound

Con Kremins

Accountant

Cheryl Kroll

Assistant Editor

Danny Lawson

Song

Sondra Lee

Consultant

Jimmy Ling

Sound Editor

Albert Long

Carpenter

Mervyn Loynes

Special Effects

Issac Mabhikwa

Assistant Director

Clive Mackey

Other

Tommie Manderson

Makeup Supervisor

Cephas Mathimba

Electrician

Donald O Mitchell

Sound

Vera Mitchell

Hairdresser

Virginia Mkiza

Wardrobe Assistant

Janine Modder

Production Coordinator

Tim Monich

Dialect Coach

James Moriana

Foley Artist

Mark Moriarty

Camera Assistant

John Morris

Special Effects Supervisor

Samson Mudzamiri

Electrician

Val Musetti

Stunts

John Narkwell

Special Effects

Mark Newman

Stunts

Lionel Ngakane

Technical Advisor

Wallis Nicita

Casting

Peter Notley

Special Effects

Gift Nyamandi

Special Effects Assistant

Temba Nyamweda

Sound

Kevin O'connell

Sound

Eamonn O'keeffe

Other

Sam O'steen

Editor

Julia Overton

Production Assistant

Dominick Palcy

Assistant Editor

Euzhan Palcy

Screenplay

John Palmer

Props

David Pearson

Boom Operator

Bill Phillips

Sound Editor

John Phillips

Sound Editor

Michael Phillips

Art Director

Mike Phillips

Art Director

Kennedy Phiri

Special Effects Assistant

Pablo Picasso

Other

Kelvin Pike

Director Of Photography

Kelvin Pike

Dp/Cinematographer

Roy Quinn

Special Effects

Germinal Rangel

Wardrobe Supervisor

Caitlin Rhodes

Casting Associate

John Richards

Sound

Peter Robb-king

Makeup

Michael Roberts

Camera Operator

Murray Russell

Other

Murray Russell

Technical Advisor

Clement Ruzengwe

Accountant

Hal Sanders

Sound Editor

Steve Sango

Special Effects Assistant

Mary Selway

Associate Producer

Mary Selway

Casting Director

Joseph Shabalala

Song

Simon Shumba

Casting

Bill Stallion

Storyboard Artist

Alexandra Stone

Assistant

Jeannie Stone

Unit Production Manager

Tony Teiger

Property Master

Ty Teiger

Props

Billy Thornhill

Best Boy

Tip Tipping

Stunts

Lisa Tomblin

Hair Assistant

Alan Tomkins

Art Director

Carine Tredgold

Assistant Art Director

Dominic Tuohy

Special Effects

Philip Vene

Other

Jean-claude Vicquery

Camera Operator

Gerard Wall

Assistant Director

Joan Washington

Dialogue Coach

Ene Watts

Script Supervisor

Paula Weinstein

Producer

Bill Welch

Construction Manager

Colin Welland

Screenplay

Terry Wells

Props

Andrew Whaley

Casting Associate

Susie Wiesenbacher

Caterer

Jeffrey Wilhoit

Foley Artist

Nikki Williams

Camera Assistant

Vincent Winter

Production Supervisor

David Worley

Camera Operator

Joanne Zaluski

Casting Associate

Film Details

Also Known As
Dry White Season, En torr vit årstid, Une Saison blanche et seche
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Political
Thriller
Release Date
1989
Distribution Company
METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER STUDIOS INC. (MGM )/UNITED INTERNATIONAL PICTURES (UIP)
Location
Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom; Harare, Zimbabwe

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 37m

Award Nominations

Best Supporting Actor

1989
Marlon Brando

Articles

A Dry White Season


"Law and justice are distant cousins, and here in South Africa they're not on speaking terms at all."

Marlon Brando in A Dry White Season

The late '80s were a hard time for South Africa on screen and with good reason. With the world's growing disgust with the nation's racially discriminatory Apartheid policies, international filmmakers tackled the subject in a series of pictures, including Richard Attenborough's Cry Freedom (1987), with Denzel Washington as Steve Biko, Chris Menges' A World Apart (1988) and the 1989 political thriller, A Dry White Season. Although all three focused primarily on white South Africans involved in the fight for equality, A Dry White Season had the distinction of being the first major Hollywood feature directed by a black woman, Euzhan Palcy, while also containing one of Marlon Brando's last great performances.

Martinique-born Palcy had first attracted attention with her 1983 account of growing up in her homeland, Sugar Cane Alley. With that film's international success (in Martinique it out-grossed that year's biggest hit, E.T.), she set out to make a film about Apartheid. But after years of struggling to find financing, she realized that nobody wanted to finance a film on the subject unless it featured a white protagonist. Fortunately, she managed to hook up with an adaptation of Andre Brink's 1979 novel that had begun at Warner Bros. with producer David Puttnam.

Brink, one of the first South African novelists to write in Afrikaans, had risen to fame with his story of a white school teacher who becomes involved in the fight against Apartheid when his black gardener and the man's son are killed by the South African police. The novel had even achieved the distinction of being banned in Brink's native land.

Puttnam was already in possession of a screenplay written by Colin Welland, who had won an Oscar® for the producer's Chariots of Fire (1981). Then the project moved to MGM, where producer Paula Weinstein took it over. Palcy had problems with Welland's script and set out to re-write it, most notably changing the ending to introduce a note of revolution not present in Brink's novel. .

Although A Dry White Season had been cast with international actors of a high caliber -- including Donald Sutherland as the schoolteacher, British actress Janet Suzman as his wife and then rising young actress Susan Sarandon as a British journalist -- it was lacking in marquee value. As a result, MGM started pushing Weinstein and Palcy to find at least one major star to flesh out the cast. Palcy thought Brando would be excellent casting for the small but flashy role of a crusading lawyer who tries to help Sutherland win one of his legal battles. She never expected him to accept the role, but Brando, who had been off-screen since The Formula in 1980, had been so impressed with her earlier film and so moved by the story's politics that he agreed to work for scale against a percentage of the gross. He even donated his paycheck to anti-Apartheid organizations.

Not that he came without problems. Whether for artistic reasons, as he claimed, or because he simply couldn't learn his lines any more, he insisted that his lines be transmitted to him over a closed-circuit receiver he wore in his ear. He would later claim that he re-wrote his few scenes and even directed them himself. When he saw the finished film, he denounced MGM for allegedly butchering the film to give the impression that Apartheid was a thing of the past. He also complained that his best scene had been cut.

Despite his complaints, Brando got some of the film's best reviews. When the year's Oscar® nominations were announced, Brando was a surprise nominee for Best Supporting Actor. There were even gasps from the press when his nomination was announced. He lost the award to Denzel Washington for Glory.

Overall A Dry White Season received only mixed reviews, with some critics lamenting the changes from Brink's novel while others complained that it was time for an anti-Apartheid film with a black protagonist. Along with Brando, the best reviews went to three South African actors, Zakes Mokae, Winston Ntshona and John Kani. All three were associates of pioneering South African playwright Athol Fugard, another anti-Apartheid activist, and all three had won Tony Awards for Broadway appearances in his plays.

Producer: Paula Weinstein
Director: Euzhan Palcy
Screenplay: Euzhan Palcy, Colin Welland
Based on the novel by Andre Brink
Cinematography: Kelvin Pike, Pierre-William Glenn
Art Direction: John Fenner
Music: Dave Grusin
Cast: Donald Sutherland (Ben du Toit), Winston Ntshona (Gordon Ngubene), Susan Sarandon (Melanie Bruwer), Janet Suzman (Susan du Toit), Marlon Brando (Ian McKenzie), Zakes Mokae (Stanley), Jurgen Prochnow (Capt. Stolz), Thoko Ntshinga (Emily Ngubene), Susannah Harker (Suzette du Toit), John Kani (Julius), Michael Gambon (Magistrate), Ronald Pickup (Louw). C-97m.

by Frank Miller
A Dry White Season

A Dry White Season

"Law and justice are distant cousins, and here in South Africa they're not on speaking terms at all." Marlon Brando in A Dry White Season The late '80s were a hard time for South Africa on screen and with good reason. With the world's growing disgust with the nation's racially discriminatory Apartheid policies, international filmmakers tackled the subject in a series of pictures, including Richard Attenborough's Cry Freedom (1987), with Denzel Washington as Steve Biko, Chris Menges' A World Apart (1988) and the 1989 political thriller, A Dry White Season. Although all three focused primarily on white South Africans involved in the fight for equality, A Dry White Season had the distinction of being the first major Hollywood feature directed by a black woman, Euzhan Palcy, while also containing one of Marlon Brando's last great performances. Martinique-born Palcy had first attracted attention with her 1983 account of growing up in her homeland, Sugar Cane Alley. With that film's international success (in Martinique it out-grossed that year's biggest hit, E.T.), she set out to make a film about Apartheid. But after years of struggling to find financing, she realized that nobody wanted to finance a film on the subject unless it featured a white protagonist. Fortunately, she managed to hook up with an adaptation of Andre Brink's 1979 novel that had begun at Warner Bros. with producer David Puttnam. Brink, one of the first South African novelists to write in Afrikaans, had risen to fame with his story of a white school teacher who becomes involved in the fight against Apartheid when his black gardener and the man's son are killed by the South African police. The novel had even achieved the distinction of being banned in Brink's native land. Puttnam was already in possession of a screenplay written by Colin Welland, who had won an Oscar® for the producer's Chariots of Fire (1981). Then the project moved to MGM, where producer Paula Weinstein took it over. Palcy had problems with Welland's script and set out to re-write it, most notably changing the ending to introduce a note of revolution not present in Brink's novel. . Although A Dry White Season had been cast with international actors of a high caliber -- including Donald Sutherland as the schoolteacher, British actress Janet Suzman as his wife and then rising young actress Susan Sarandon as a British journalist -- it was lacking in marquee value. As a result, MGM started pushing Weinstein and Palcy to find at least one major star to flesh out the cast. Palcy thought Brando would be excellent casting for the small but flashy role of a crusading lawyer who tries to help Sutherland win one of his legal battles. She never expected him to accept the role, but Brando, who had been off-screen since The Formula in 1980, had been so impressed with her earlier film and so moved by the story's politics that he agreed to work for scale against a percentage of the gross. He even donated his paycheck to anti-Apartheid organizations. Not that he came without problems. Whether for artistic reasons, as he claimed, or because he simply couldn't learn his lines any more, he insisted that his lines be transmitted to him over a closed-circuit receiver he wore in his ear. He would later claim that he re-wrote his few scenes and even directed them himself. When he saw the finished film, he denounced MGM for allegedly butchering the film to give the impression that Apartheid was a thing of the past. He also complained that his best scene had been cut. Despite his complaints, Brando got some of the film's best reviews. When the year's Oscar® nominations were announced, Brando was a surprise nominee for Best Supporting Actor. There were even gasps from the press when his nomination was announced. He lost the award to Denzel Washington for Glory. Overall A Dry White Season received only mixed reviews, with some critics lamenting the changes from Brink's novel while others complained that it was time for an anti-Apartheid film with a black protagonist. Along with Brando, the best reviews went to three South African actors, Zakes Mokae, Winston Ntshona and John Kani. All three were associates of pioneering South African playwright Athol Fugard, another anti-Apartheid activist, and all three had won Tony Awards for Broadway appearances in his plays. Producer: Paula Weinstein Director: Euzhan Palcy Screenplay: Euzhan Palcy, Colin Welland Based on the novel by Andre Brink Cinematography: Kelvin Pike, Pierre-William Glenn Art Direction: John Fenner Music: Dave Grusin Cast: Donald Sutherland (Ben du Toit), Winston Ntshona (Gordon Ngubene), Susan Sarandon (Melanie Bruwer), Janet Suzman (Susan du Toit), Marlon Brando (Ian McKenzie), Zakes Mokae (Stanley), Jurgen Prochnow (Capt. Stolz), Thoko Ntshinga (Emily Ngubene), Susannah Harker (Suzette du Toit), John Kani (Julius), Michael Gambon (Magistrate), Ronald Pickup (Louw). C-97m. by Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall September 22, 1989

Released in United States on Video April 26, 1990

Released in United States September 1989

Released in United States September 10, 1989

Released in United States October 6, 1989

Released in United States November 1989

Released in United States January 1990

Released in United States June 1990

Released in United States December 1990

Shown at Deauville Film Festival September 1-11, 1989.

Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 10, 1989.

Shown at Tokyo International Film Festival (in competition) October 6, 1989.

Shown at the London Film Festival November 10-26, 1989.

Shown at Sydney Film Festival June 8-22, 1990.

Shown at Cairo International Film Festival December 3-12, 1990.

Film is dedicated to Hannah and Henri Marie-Joseph. While Marlon Brando agreed to work on this film at no cost, he accepted the minimum required Screen Actors Guild rate of $4,000. Donald Sutherland, Michael Gambon, Janet Suzman, and Susan Sarandon also worked for reduced salaries. According to a televised interview with Brando on October 7, 1989, the actor received $3,300,000 for his work (an anticipated percentage of the gross), which he planned to donate to the anti-apartheid cause.

Began shooting April 26, 1988

Released in United States on Video April 26, 1990

Released in United States September 1989 (Shown at Deauville Film Festival September 1-11, 1989.)

Released in United States September 10, 1989 (Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 10, 1989.)

Released in United States October 6, 1989 (Shown at Tokyo International Film Festival (in competition) October 6, 1989.)

Released in United States November 1989 (Shown at the London Film Festival November 10-26, 1989.)

Released in United States January 1990 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival Park City, Utah January 17-27, 1990.)

Released in United States June 1990 (Shown at Sydney Film Festival June 8-22, 1990.)

Released in United States December 1990 (Shown at Cairo International Film Festival December 3-12, 1990.)

Released in United States Fall September 22, 1989