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She'd rather light a candle than curse the darkness
The title of the review is the epitaph Eleanor Roosevelt was given by her friend
Adlai Stevenson. As true a one as ever given a human being who was a relentless optimist and saw only the good in people. She was the role model
for an activist first lady who traveled the country and became the eyes and
ears of her crippled husband. She was also the conduit for many who had no
official voice in making policy.
Speaking for the voiceless was a mission of her's and this film Eleanor, First
Lady Of The World and she's given a sinecure by her husband's successor
Harry Truman when she's made part of the American delegation to the newly formed United Nations.
The post may have been window dressing, but she decided that she'd use it
to further her own cause and give the United Nations a creed about universal human rights. It was her baby and despite a lot of opposition and
some submarining by foes it passed. It certainly has been buffeted over the
years and not always followed, but it remains a standard of universal decent
behavior toward others.
It might surprise some to learn that this country has never ratified Eleanor
Roosevelt's work. Some southern Senators who figured this might give civil
rights advocates some ammunition managed to never let it see the light of
day in a vote. Now I daresay a lot of rightwing yahoos would say it never
was meant to include LGBTQ people. I think Eleanor Roosevelt would weep, but she would never lose her optimism.
Jean Stapleton is just wonderful as Eleanor Roosevelt. You will not see a hint of Edith Bunker in her performance. She really channeled Eleanor into
Others of note in the cast are Richard McKenzie as Harry Truman, Joyce Van Patten as her aide 'Tommy' Thompson, Gail Strickland as her daughter Anna, Jeffrey Marcus as her grandson Curtis who as an adult narrates the
story, and E.G. Marshall as crusty John Foster Dulles who had to wait four
more years to become Secretary Of State.
A wonderful biographical tribute to our greatest first lady in her widowed years.
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