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Man From The Sun, A (1956)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

London, train station. Cleve arrives from Jamaica, hoping to meet his cousin Alvin. Also at the station is 19-year-old beauty queen Miss Roddock, who waits anxiously for her brother and Winston, an African who complains that his white girlfriend is ashamed to be seen in public with him.

After much hanging around, Joseph Brent, a community leader, tries to help the new arrivals. Alvin eventually shows up but Miss Roddock, alone and greatly distressed, is approached by a woman who is obviously recruiting for prostitution. Without realising what she is getting into, she is about to take up the offer, but is rescued by a woman from the church army, who patrols the station for precisely such eventualities.

In the home of a white working-class family, a middle-aged white man complains about the influx of black people in Britain, saying they are only here to take advantage of the welfare state, to socialise with white women, and to take white jobs for less money. Some white people are campaigning to make a council estate whites only.

Once they are home, Alvin decides to throw a small party for Cleve. He starts the ball rolling by singing a calypso song with his own guitar accompaniment. At the party, Mr. Zacharia, a community leader, offers Cleve some advice. He suggests that there is a colour bar in British people's hearts: jobs are difficult to find and rooms are always taken. Zacharia advises Cleve to look for a job at the labour exchange.

The next day Cleve goes to the labour exchange. He tells them he is a cabinetmaker, but is warned that standards of workmanship in this country are far higher than he is used to. In a local factory, white workers complain about being overrun by black workers, despite a TUC directive about racism in the workplace.

At the local social club, groups discuss racism and immigration. A disillusioned Winston wants to go back to Africa to be among his own people, while Cleve confesses to being extremely unhappy with his job and the white people he has to work with. At the committee meeting of the social club, members debate similar issues. In response to a suggestion that black people are likely to adversely affect the morals of society, Joseph Brent suggests there is less danger of black people corrupting white people than there is of white people corrupting black.

At work, Cleve takes exception to a white worker telling him he smells. There is a scuffle and the white worker racially abuses Cleve. Both men are fired. Unemployed again, Cleve is approached in the street by a drug pusher called Prince and offered a job, which he accepts. Prince gives Cleve a letter and tells him where to turn up. Later, at the social club, Cleve shows the letter to Joseph Brent who promptly tears it up.

Cleve decides that his job prospects would improve if he learned to read and write. Miss Vale, a white acquaintance from the social club, agrees to teach him. Miss Roddock marries Johnny from the social club. Cleve writes a brief letter about life in Britain to his mother back in Jamaica.