32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
George Wallace: from liberal to racist to redemption,
This review is from: George Wallace [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The fighting little judge from Alabama was known as the most liberal judge in Alabama and probably in the South. But one gubernational defeat makes him turn to racism in order to capture the governorship.
Gary Sinise turns in an incredible performance as the governor, he has become one of my favorite actors ever since his equally brilliant performance in "Truman".
I like the way that this movie doesn't judge Wallace as good or bad, it leaves that to the viewer. In one scene you can see Wallace commenting on the beating of Civil Rights activists at the Edmund Pettus Bridge saying "This is a victory for US! We turned them back" and you actually think that Sinise as Wallace believes what he's saying.
The movie presents some historical footage here and there, you can see president Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King's famous "how long?" speech.
It does have a number of flaws though, I'd have liked to see more about election 1968, the way Nixon tried to prevent Wallace from becoming governor in 1970 by sponsoring Wallace's opponent, the infamous General Curtis Lemay pressconference. And the fictional character Archie isn't quite pulled off by the director, it strikes me as an anomaly in the movie.
Also it shows Wallace meeting Cornelia, his future second wife at governor Folsom's inaugural in 1955, this would have made Cornelia about 23 years old in 1972 when in fact she was 31. The reason for that is that George and Lurleen met Cornelia at Folsom's FIRST inaugural in 1947 and not 1955
The most moving scene is where Wallace is wheeled into the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (Dr. King's former church) where he, in front of a stunned black congegation apologizes for his role in black suffering. The authenticity of this scene I found questionable until I read about it in Stephan Lesher's book "George Wallace American populist".
But in the end George Wallace the movie is a masterpiece capturing the sentiments of the 50's, 60's and 70's. The late governor's children are said to have been content with the portrayal.