Film screenwriter Jake Armitage and his wife Jo Armitage live in London with six of Jo's eight children, with the two eldest boys at boarding school. The children are spread over Jo's three... See full summary »
Poster writes a gossip column for the Morning Gazette. He will write about anyone and everyone as long as he gets the credit. He gets most of his information from his gal, Peggy who is a ... See full summary »
William A. Seiter
Chuck, a reporter for The Blade newspaper, gets beaten up while trying to get a story on prison corruption, and the rest of the Bowery Boys, Slip, Sach, and Butch, get themselves arrested ... See full summary »
Life is rough in the coal mines of 1876 Pennsylvania. A secret group of Irish immigrant miners, known as the Molly Maguires, fights against the cruelty of the mining company with sabotage ... See full summary »
A grandmother seeks a governess for her 16 year old granddaughter, Laurel, who manages to drive away each and every one so far by exposing their past, with a record of three in one week! ... See full summary »
Emma is a divorced woman with a teen-aged son who moves into a small town and tries to make a go of a horse ranch. Murphy is the widowed town druggist who steers business her way. Things ... See full summary »
Angie Rossini is an innocent (Italian Catholic) Macy's salesgirl, who discovers she's pregnant from a fling with Rocky, a musician. Angie finds Rocky (who doesn't remember her at first) to ... See full summary »
Doctor John Abbott is a single parent who settles in the town of Westport, with his son Dick, trying to eke out a living for them. He also inherits, by way of his doorstep, an unwanted baby... See full summary »
Boxer Jack Jefferson (James Earl Jones) is the world's reigning heavyweight boxing champion. There's just one problem, he is also the first black heavyweight champion, and that bothers a lot of people. Jack's celebration is cut short, as Jack is framed for crossing a state line with Eleanor, his white fiancé (Jane Alexander in her first film role), a violation of the Mann Act. Facing a prison sentence, Jack escapes to Europe, with Eleanor in tow, encountering problems in England, and then France, and eventually landing in Cuba. In Havana, Jack agrees to enter the boxing ring for what might be the bout of his life. Both Jones and Alexander were nominated for Oscars. Written by
In addition to Jack Jefferson being based on Jack Johnson, several other characters are based on real life individuals. Frank Brady is a stand-in for Jim Jeffries, the former heavyweight champion who came out of retirement to try to end Johnson's title reign, Cap'n Dan is based on "Gentleman" Jim Corbett, the racist former champion refused to fight black men as champion, and the Kid is a stand-in for Jess Willard, the fighter who eventually beat Johnson for the title in Havana in 1915. Eleanor is a composite of two white women Johnson married, Etta Duryea, and Lucille Cameron, who he fled the country with after being convicted. See more »
In the first scene in which we see Jefferson practicing, the sweat on his shirt changes from shot to shot in a way that wouldn't be predicted by evaporation. See more »
Now you're the first black man in the history of the ring who's ever had a crack at the heavyweight title. Now white folks, of course, are behind Brady. He's the redeemer of the race and so on. But you, Jack Jefferson, are you the black hope?
Well, I'm black and I'm hopin'.
Answer him straight, Jack.
Hey, look, man, I ain't fighting for no race, I ain't redeeming nobody. My mama told me *Mr. Lincoln* done that. Ain't that why you shot him?
See more »
Screenplay by Howard Sackler Based on his play See more »
Recently, Ken Burns wrote an editorial calling on Americans to make amends for what they as a society did to Jack Johnson. "The Great White Hope" shows what American society did to him.
James Earl Jones plays Johnson, called Jack Jefferson here (the movie is fictionalized). He was everything that a black man in the early 20th century was not supposed to be: assertive, proud, and married to a white woman. His wife Eleanor (Jane Alexander) accepted him for who he was. Naturally, white people didn't like their marriage one bit; the black population believed that Johnson was "...gainin' an attraction to the white man's poon tang." Ostracized from society, Jack and Eleanor tried to live privately, but they were constantly hounded. Jack became increasingly abusive towards Eleanor, until she took her own life. Distraught, Jack went in for one last showdown in Cuba.
Regardless of what you think of the movie overall, it's important because it shows a part of our history that we may never be able to get over, and in fact are still addressing today. Director Martin Ritt espouses the same kind of social awareness that he discussed in "Hud", "Sounder", "Conrack" and "The Front". A masterpiece.
13 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?