26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Dated But Still Packs a Punch,
This review is from: Black Like ME (DVD)
For those of us of a certain generation, this was a seminal movie. It brought race relations to the fore in a way which Time Magazine articles or even newsreel footage of Civil Rights marchers being sprayed down by power hoses didn't.
The impact came, for me at least, from James Whitmore's understated, slow-burn performance. Nothing that dramatic happens to him in this movie. He's just shunted off incrementally, in one place or another, for no other reason than that he's passing himself off for black. It's really a Spencer Tracy acting turn, in a way. His transformation from weakling to adjudicator is akin to Tracy's in BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK.
The Bad guys are pretty much set up in a row. We also know who the good guy is. Hate to use the analogy, but things are presented in very black and white terms here. We know who the heroes and villains are. But the drama is in how it plays out. Whitmore learns lesson after painful lesson. The upshot is that his story and the film itself acts as a powerful exposé of the segregrationalist policies of the era. It made it a lot harder for the South to justify it's arcane drinking fountain, swimming pool, cafe-seating, bus-seating policies, in other words. One of the really important movies of the era, in other words, and one that should still be receiving kudos!
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Initial post: Feb 20, 2008 11:51:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 20, 2008 11:53:30 AM PST
Rufus Quail says:
I saw this movie at a drive in with my girlfriend. It had a tremendous influence on both of us. She's been married for 30+ years now but we're still in touch and remember our date. The movie was a wak-up call for a generation. You really can't tell people about this movie; they have to see it.
In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2008 3:32:22 PM PDT
Bruce Kendall says:
Thanks for all your thoughtful comments, Rufus. Clearly, we have a lot of cinematic experiences in common.
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