Monday, January 28, 2013

Spielberg's "Lincoln"

If "Lincoln" had been as rich in truth as it is in acting and sets, I suspect it could have been a winner.  But as it is, it deserves to fade back into obscurity because it is a repackaging of the old lie that freedom was a gift from the white man to the black man. I hope it's audience beyond the big screen is small.

I had thought that with the great and powerful movie "Glory" we had seen the beginning of a new era in which the Civil War and Emancipation would be represented as the revolution they were, with the slaves and former slaves at the center of the drama where they belong.  And I would never have expected Spielberg, so passionate about his own people's struggles for freedom and against tyranny, to have so deeply discounted those of others. Remembering his "Color Purple" however, which completely failed to place the drama in the context of the  struggles of the times, perhaps I should not have been so surprised.

The TV movie "Freedom Road" starring Muhammed Ali that came out shortly after could have helped carry this revolution in popular history forward. It's complete failure was a setback that has never been made up for. I can't find a copy of it anywhere.  Anyone curious about my comment should read the Howard Fast novel on which it was based.  I had many times imagined that novel as a movie.
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