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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
The film was promoted and billed as "The most honored play in the history of Broadway...becomes an electrifying motion picture!" 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 »
[after they convince Brady to fight Jefferson]
Good. So it's fixed Cap'n Dan.
The man's in a hurry, Fred
What about terms?
What? We're no babies here. You know my Jackie would fight your boy for a *nickel*.
What? A world's championship?
80-20, that's it.
God bless America.
And Cap'n Dan to be the referee.
You're kidding me.
[...] See more »
Screenplay by Howard Sackler Based on his play See more »
In the early 20th century, boxer James Earl Jones (as Jack Jefferson) fights his main battles outside of the ring. He becomes the first "black" heavyweight champion of the world, but Mr. Jones finds the going gets tough after shacking up with "white" woman Jane Alexander (as Eleanor Backman). Back then, most people did not cotton to race mixing. Eventually, the battle infects Jones' relationship with Ms. Alexander. This film doesn't do justice to Howard Sackler's award-winning play, but it is worthwhile in several respects. Highlights include Irene Sharaff's crisp costumes, the later locations and several notable performances - especially Jones' charismatic and powerful lead.
******* The Great White Hope (10/11/70) Martin Ritt ~ James Earl Jones, Jane Alexander, Chester Morris, Hal Holbrook
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