|Index||4 reviews in total|
Before Jack Roosevelt Robinson made his historical impact as the first
African-American to break the color line in Major League Baseball, he
made an impact on the United States Army. This made-for-television
movie (TNT), while not historically accurate in every minute detail, is
an important document and an excellent history lesson.
While a four-sport star at UCLA (baseball, football, basketball and track), Robinson was drafted into the U.S. Army to serve during WWII. He found and fought racial discrimination at every turn. With the help of an influential fellow soldier, Joe Louis, Robinson became an officer over the objections of the white power structure at Camp Riley (now Ft. Riley), Kansas. He then fought to get equal PX privileges for black soldiers. Branded a troublemaker and sent to Camp Hood (now Ft. Hood), Texas, he was court-martialed on trumped-up charges of insubordination after refusing the order of a civilian bus driver to sit at the back of an Army bus. He won his case, resigned his commission, and joined the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League (see movie "Soul of the Game" for details), where he played with legendary hurler/baseball showman Satchel Paige.
Andre Braugher was stellar as Robinson. Kasi Lemmons was an excellent physical match as Robinson's future wife, Rachel. Bruce Dern turned in a stunning performance as "Scout Ed Higgins" (in actuality Dodgers scout Clyde Sukeforth) a bigot who nonetheless appreciated Robinson's skills, and Stan Shaw was quite believable as legendary heavyweight champion Joe Louis. J.A. Preston, a marvelous character actor with an unforgettable voice and presence, is the narrator and Robinson's champion as real-life sportswriter Wendell Smith of the Pittsburgh Courier. Noble Willingham had a notable cameo as a two-faced colonel. But the most brilliant bit of casting was the venerable Ruby Dee as Robinson's mother. Forty years earlier in "The Jackie Robinson Story" (1950), a forgettable piece of pablum in which Robinson portrayed himself, Dee transcended an awful film with a bravura performance as wife Rachel Robinson.
There were a couple of unbelievable scenes. One centered on how Robinson and Louis allegedly met--according to the film, an embittered Robinson was about to blindly throw a punch at Louis, who stopped him short by saying, "I don't think I'm the man you want to hit." Also, it strains the credibility to portray Higgins/Sukeforth and Joe Louis as waiting outside the military courtroom for the outcome of the court martial, although it is plausible that Smith was there on assignment for the Courier. The film did make the point that Robinson had a fiery temper and bristled at the notion of racial injustice, something that he was forced to downplay during his first few years in the big leagues.
All in all, it was a good film, bordering on excellent, and more historically accurate than most docudramas, showing that there was precedent for Rosa Parks' more celebrated transit troubles, and that Jackie Robinson was a civil rights pioneer before stepping foot on a professional baseball diamond.
"42" is an awesome story about Jackie Robinson's struggle to break into
Professional Baseball and about Brooklyn Dodger Owner, Branch Rickey,
and his desire to see Jackie make it to the top!
It is more than just a story about segregation...it is about mankind... and knowing right from wrong... and choosing to do right! Pee Wee Reese was a hero for helping Jackie breakthrough... and Branch Rickey was a good Christian man, as well as a great Baseball character and a visionary who saw the future of Baseball fully integrated... He refused to call it " a white man's game" ... as so many others did.
Go see this movie... you'll be glad you did! (I was an "extra"...had the privilege of playing one of the newspaper reporters who interviewed Jackie) ... but go see it anyway!
I want to say that this is the best show on tv. I like Andre Braugher because he is the best actor. I want to vote for Andre and I really want to meet him sometime. I wish that he was in New York so that we can talk to each other. I want to say that I saw it for the first time and I love it. Thanks everyone for your time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Andre Braugher deserved an emmy for his sensitive and powerful portrayal. A lot of the dialogue was historically accurate, taken from court records. Sure there were some "Hollywood" embellishments, but overall, a great film. Sometimes the dialogue was a little corny, especially between Jackie and his fiancé. I'm not too sure about how much Joe Louis was really involved, and an actor who resembled the Brown Bomber in height and physique would have been preferable. Curiously, Jackie's brother was nearly invisible. It would have been nice if he had more of a presence. But the movie was full of tension and gave a harrowing account of the trauma of racial prejudice. During the war, my father, who was white, witnessed a scene straight from the movie. A black dock worker needed to sit in the white section of the cafeteria. He was threatened by several bigoted whites and was forced to pick up his tray and leave. My father, to his credit, picked up his own tray and left with the man.
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