Sidney Poitier Returns to `the Simple Life' in Television Movie

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES -- At 75, Sidney Poitier has reached the point where he limits his screen appearances to projects that particularly interest him. They may include a thriller like The Jackal or a TV biography of Thurgood Marshall, Separate But Equal.

The latest production to capture his fancy is The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn, which CBS will present at 9 p.m. tomorrow.

Poitier plays Noah Dearborn, a man who has spent his long life as a carpenter and farmer in a small Southern community where he is respected for his craftsmanship as well as his personal philosophy.

Dearborn's simple life is upset when a developer offers to buy his land and convert it into a shopping mall. The old man declines, but the developer persists, sending a psychiatrist (Mary-Louise Parker) to determine if Dearborn is mentally unfit. His friend, a diner operator played by Dianne Wiest, does her own investigating and discovers more about the enigmatic Dearborn.

"There is a message," Poitier observed. "It is a good, healthy kind of exploration of the human personality. We live in very modern times, in which values do change, not from generation to generation; it's even quicker now in its transformation.

"The things that were of enormous value to us even 15 years ago may now seem ineffective or passe. So much comes at us so fast that to digest them and have the time to feel them as values -- that time gets shorter and shorter."

Poitier, who has directed many of his own movies in the past, described himself as a "hired gun" on Noah Dearborn, which was directed by Gregg Champion. …