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As usual, Hallmark Hall of Fame has done an outstanding job of presenting the factual events of the times. Our world is not always a pleasant place, but as these events show, truth and right generally prevail. I like the fact that this experience was an education for all involved, especially John Lithgow's character.
I just saw this movie recently by way of a DVD that I rented. As the
"voice of experience" from having previously served in the US Army in
the same duty as John Lithgow's character ... I must say that he did
one Hell of a good job! I was totally amazed! I usually associate this
actor with roles that are "dumb & goofy" ... but he amazed me by
performing in a very serious role. The character traits were perfect.
The costumes were on target for that period. It was even filmed on
location at an army post in Georgia which is where the fictional story
was to have taken place. I especially liked the ending when the
combined efforts of the men in the (mostly white) Platoon became the
force that turned the tide of southern racism and finally allowed a
hero to be buried in a place where he originally had NOT been welcome
for no other reason than the color of his skin. I grew up in Georgia
and even during that same time period of the early 1970s, there were
still small communities where the mindset of certain people was still
like the 1950s before Civil Rights had taken effect. But overall, I
felt that this film was excellent and really did NOT get the attention
that it truly deserved when it was first released. Hallmark should
replay this once again.
---LTC Ralph Mitchell, US Army (ret)
"Resting Place" tells of an Army officer (Lithgow) who accompanies the body of a black Vietnam war hero home for burial only to find the cemetery is segregated and the body is shrouded in mystery. A well cast journeyman TV drama, "Resting Place" is a thoughtful and poignant exploration of one man's search for truth among a too divided civilian population and a too unified military unit. Good stuff with a message for everyone.
Enjoyed viewing this film about an American Soldier who was being returned to his hometown a small city in Georgia. Major Kendall Laird, (John Lithgow) is escorting the remains of this soldier and he has to face the family, Luther Johnson, (Morgan Freeman) and his wife. This procedure usually takes a few days, however, Major Kendall experiences strange behavior by the men who were in combat with this Lt. Johnson, who has been awarded a medal for saving their lives. There is also another problem which involved the burial place for Lt. Johnson because of a racial problem with the town people who do not want a Black person to be buried in their cemetery. There are many twists and turns and this film reveals a very surprising story about what really happened to Lt. Johnson.
I was so pleased that I had taped this movie from the television based upon the briefest review in the newspaper as I have the chance to watch this forgotten gem whenever I wish to. Made in 1986 the film is about a US Army Major in 1972 accompanying the body of a young officer to his home town of Rockville for local burial. So what you may think, but the twist is that Major Laird is played by John Lithgow and his charge is the son of Luther and Ada Johnson (Morgan Freeman and CCH Pounder). In Rockville the cemetery is reserved for the white folks and even black military heroes have to rest out of town, according to the local Sheriff. The plot deals with that period in time when there still was prejudice even though there were laws for equal rights. This may seem quite dated now that Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th President of the United States of America, but the story is told with feeling and some very strong acting ability. Without exception, all of the leading characters are portrayed by actors who all went on to prove their true worth. It may be that the subject matter of the movie was not flavour of the month in 1986 but nevertheless it is workmanlike and sincere in its story of good old white society trying to maintain its superiority over emerging black aspirations. Whilst it is not in the same league as 'In the Heat of the Night' or 'Amistad' this well made tale of a fight against prejudice is still worth watching more than once.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
RESTING PLACE is a fractured mix of two dramas. It begins as a very
conventional American race drama, in which Georgia locals refuse to
have a black Vietnam Lieutenant buried in their all-white cemetery. It
then morphs into a military-set mystery as the circumstances of the
Lieutenant's death are revealed to be suspicious.
This double narrative robs either story of the time needed to develop itself and makes the conclusion feel rushed and unsatisfying. Major characters, like the Lieutenant's parents (Morgan Freeman and C.C.H. Pounder), are abandoned for much of the film's running time. The split between the Georgia town and the local Army base ensures that neither comes alive.
The film begins with a degree of racial subtlety as the local authorities explain their reasons for opposing the burial. Having avoided the racial violence in the South of the late 1960's they don't want to move too far, too fast in this post-Civil Rights Era, for fear of causing it. For once these are concerned citizens, not hate-filled rednecks. The second narrative has promise too. The Lieutenant's death turns out to be the result of a mistake he made that killed some of his men and lost him the trust of his platoon. Consequently in their next firefight he leads but nobody follows, assuring his death. Unfortunately subtlety is thrown out the window as an unconvincing racial subtext is introduced and the Lieutenant's mistake is revealed to have really been made by his radioman (motivated by racism).
Handsome production values and some unusually restrained acting from John Lithgow fail to redeem the inability of the screenplay to combine its two stories.
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