The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Monday, January 16, 2023

King (1978, Part One) [TV Movie]

"King" (1978, Part I) was an NBC made-for-television movie about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr life written and directed by Abby Mann. The film stars Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson as Martin and Coretta Scott King, respectively. Both actors were already successful in their careers from the 1972 film "Sounder," so they already had the chemistry necessary to pull off this task.

NBC released the miniseries ten years after the assassination of Dr. King, so the tragedy was a reminder for many people when the series aired. Not only that, but many people involved with Dr. King were still active in his legacy. The film did ignite some controversy from several angles. In general, Dr. King involved himself in so many different things at high levels that it would be impossible to nail down all the details of how situations unfolded and, more so, how he responded from an emotional and psychological perspective. According to The Manhattan Mercury, February 12, 1978, in an article by Jerry Buck (The Associated Press), civil rights leaders said that Mann portrayed Kings as "cowardly and frightened." However, Mann countered by saying, "the film may have flaws, but showing as a coward isn't one of them. He may be afraid, but that makes him all the more courageous." Additional criticism included the treatment of Dr. King by former FBI director J. Edger Hoover who attempted to discredit King. 

There are many actors in this miniseries, so it can be challenging to keep up with everyone, but many familiar faces play significant roles. But in part one, Howard E. Rollins stars in his second film playing King's aid, Andrew Young. Part one is an intense drama. Everyone does an excellent job of bringing the life surrounding Dr. King in a way that will touch people emotionally. However, as mentioned earlier, some details and facts may need to be included or corrected, especially considering ten years isn't enough to research the life of Dr. King. But, for educational purposes, this film did well, and I recommend it for viewing. 

Director: Abby Mann
Writer: Abby Mann

Starring Paul Winfield, Cicely Tyson, Ernie Hudson, Howard E. Rollins, Al Freeman Jr., Roscoe Lee Browne, Ernie Lee Banks, Ossie Davis, Steven Hill, Lonny Chapman, Cliff De Young, Clu Gulager, William Jordan, Warren J. Kemmerling, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Kenneth McMillan, David Spielberg, Dolph Sweet, Dick Anthony Williams, Art Evans, Frances Foster, Charles Robinson, Roger Robinson, Sheila Frazier, Tony Bennett, Julian Bond, Bill Cobbs

Part one of a three-part biographical portrait of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. covers his decision to enter the ministry, his marriage, his role in the Montgomery bus boycott, and his efforts to desegregate other public accommodations.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Song of the South (1946)

  • Harve Foster (photoplay director)
  • Wilfred Jackson (cartoon director)
  • Dalton S. Reymond (original story, screenplay)
  • Morton Grant (screenplay)
  • Maurice Rapf (screenplay)
  • Joel Chandler Harris (book)
  • Bill Peet (cartoon story)
  • Ralph Wright (cartoon story)
  • Vernon Stallings (cartoon story) 
  • James Baskett
  • Bobby Driscoll
  • Ruth Warrick
  • Hattie McDaniel
  • Lucile Watson
  • Glenn Leedy
  • Luana Patten
  • Erik Rolf
  • Nick Stewart
  • Johnny Leer

Based on the Uncle Remus stories about the ingenious bunny Brer Rabbit using live action and animation. Following his parent's separation, a young boy lives in the American South. There he meets Uncle Remus, who gives the boy valuable insights into his problems via the stories he tells about Br'er Rabbit.