Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Review: "HEARTS AND MINDS" Still Condemns with Power

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 61 of 2021 (No. 1799) by Leroy Douresseaux

Hearts and Minds (1974)
Running time:  112 minutes (1 hour, 52 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Peter Davis
PRODUCERS:  Peter Davis and Bert Schneider
EDITORS:  Lynzee Klingman and Susan Martin
Academy Award winner

DOCUMENTARY – War, Politics

[The recent ignominious end of the “War in Afghanistan” (October 7, 2001 to August 30, 2021) got me to thinking about America's involvement in Vietnam decades ago because … you know … people never learn and they never change.  In military conflicts, if you run on up in there, you gonna eventually run on up outta there.  So anyway, I remembered the gold standard in theatrical Vietnam documentary films, Hearts and Minds, and it was time to see it again.]

Starring:  Captain Randy Floyd, Sgt. William Marshall, Lt. George Coker, George Bidault, Father Chan Tin, Daniel Ellsberg, David Emerson, Mary Cochran Emerson, Senator J.W. Fulbright, Sec. Clark Gifford, Corporal Stan Holder, Mui Duc Giang, Walt Rostow, Vu Duc Vinh, Vu Thi Hue, Vu Thri To, Gen. William Westmoreland, and Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson

Hearts and Minds is a 1974 documentary film directed by Peter Davis.  It is an antiwar movie that examines the Vietnam War (1955 to 1975) and confronts the United States' involvement in the civil war within the Southeast Asian nation of Vietnam.  The film's title, Hearts and Minds, is based on the following quote from U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson:  “the ultimate victory will depend on the hearts and minds of the people who actually live out there.”  Hearts and Minds won the Oscar for “Best Documentary, Features” at the 47th Academy Awards, which were presented in 1975.

During the time of its release, critics of Hearts and Minds complained that the film was two one-sided, but from the beginning, the film's stated and obvious premise was that the United States should not have been involved Vietnam and in the strife between the governments of North Vietnam and South Vietnam.  Director Peter Davis recounts the history of the Vietnam War by examining the history and attitudes of the opposing sides of the war, and he does this by interviewing government officials and military leadership and personnel from both sides of conflict.  He also uses archival news footage, specifically featuring the U.S. Presidents whose actions started, sustained, and/or exacerbated the conflict and violence that marked the Vietnam War.

It is in that way that Davis presents what I see as the film's key theme:  American attitudes and goals were the reason that a Vietnamese civil war became an American-driven Vietnam War.  After World War II, the leadership of the U.S., both government and military, decided to make the world in its image.  American's imperial ambitions had been long-simmering, seeing a number of nations as rivals or obstacles, especially the Soviet Union and China, the faces of “international communism.”  Such imperialism found a proxy war in the struggle between communist North Vietnamese and its South Vietnamese allies, the Viet Cong,against South Vietnam (or the State of Vietnam).

Hearts and Minds emphasizes how the the United States helped to create the bloody conflict with Vietnam and how it ultimately prolonged the struggle.  In interviews with such people as General William Westmoreland, the American commander of military operations in the Vietnam War during its peak period from 1964 to 1968, not only does the self-righteous militarism of the U.S. reveal itself, but also American' racist attitudes about the Vietnamese people.

This militarism and racism is also exemplified in another one of the film's interview subjects, American prison of war (POW), U.S. Navy pilot, Lt. George Coker.  The film includes footage of Coker making public speeches after his release from six-and-a-half years in North Vietnamese captivity.  Coker's racism and jingoism are repulsive, which, to me, are obviously the result of his upbringing (brainwashing) and military training.  However, I'm not sure that it was a good choice to include him in Hearts and Minds, as the film's detractors have used Coker's status as a POW to criticize the film as being “too one-sided” and anti-war propaganda.  One could always say that the attitudes Coker reveals in his return to the U.S. are, to some extent, the result of the degradation he experienced as a POW.

That aside, what makes Hearts and Minds one of the greatest American documentary films of all time (if not the greatest) is director Peter Davis' willingness to give voice to the Vietnamese people through interviews and film footage.  One of Hearts and Minds' most shocking and controversial sequences shows the funeral of a South Vietnamese soldier.  His grieving family includes a sobbing woman (his mother?) who has to be restrained from climbing into the grave after his coffin is lowered into the ground.  The cries of a grieving boy, perhaps his son, are like that of a wounded animal.  I first saw Hearts and Minds a few years ago on TV, and that scene stays with me, even as I write this.

Americans sometimes remember how many Americans died in the Vietnam War (over 58,000), but almost three-and-a-half million Vietnamese civilians and soldiers died during the war (according to numbers provided by Vietnam in 1995).  An example of the wanton death and destruction is personified in a North Vietnamese farmer who loses his eight-year-old daughter and his three-year-old son because of an American bombing campaign.  His anger and grief, especially at the death of his daughter who was killed while feeding pigs (all of which apparently lived), encapsulates the wrongness of American involvement in Vietnam.

Two other interviews of American servicemen stand out to me.  First, Sgt. William Marshall, an African-American from Detroit, offers a bit of levity in the film by the way in which he describes his experiences.  However, he also condemns Americans, demanding that they witness in his war injuries a guilt from which we may not turn away.

The other is Hearts and Minds' concluding interview, which features US Vietnam veteran, U.S. Navy pilot, Captain Randy Floyd.  One of his statements summons up the feckless relationship that Americans have with their militarist and imperialist government.  Floyd says, “We've all tried very hard to escape what we have learned in Vietnam.  I think Americans have worked extremely hard not to see the criminality that their officials and their policy makers exhibited.”

With those words, Hearts and Minds makes itself both timely and timeless, although the American “Global War on Terror” of the twenty-first century also helped to keep this film timely.  It is left up to academics, film historians, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' (AMPAS) “Academy Film Archive,” and the “National Film Registry” to save Hearts and Minds from being entirely forgotten.  Still, we movie fans, or at least some us, must make an effort to bring Hearts and Minds back into prominence.  America has need of this work of art and of this lesson in history.

10 of 10

Sunday, October 17, 2021

1975 Academy Awards, USA:  1 win for “Best Documentary, Features” (Peter Davis and Bert Schneider)

1975 Golden Globes, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Documentary Film”

2018 National Film Preservation Board, USA:  “National Film Registry”

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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Saturday, May 22, 2021


TRASH IN MY EYE No. 36 of 2021 (No. 1774) by Leroy Douresseaux

Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)
Running time:  125 minutes (2 hours, 5 minutes)
MPAA – R for violence and pervasive language
DIRECTOR:  Shaka King
WRITERS:  Will Berson and Shaka King; from a story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas
PRODUCERS:  Ryan Coogler, Charles D. King, Shaka King, and Mark Isham
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Sean Bobbitt (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Kristan Sprague
COMPOSER:  Craig Harris
Academy Award winner


Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, Algee Smith, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Lil Rel Howery, Dominique Thorne, Martin Sheen, Amari Cheatom, Ian Duff, Robert Longstreet, Nicholas Velez, and Terayle Hill

Judas and the Black Messiah is a 2021 drama, historical, and biopic from director Shaka King.  The film is a dramatization of the betrayal of Chicago Black Panther Party leader, Fred Hampton, by FBI informant, William O'Neal.  Judas and the Black Messiah was eligible for the 2020 / 93rd Academy Awards due to an eligibility window extension granted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Judas and the Black Messiah opens in 1968.  Nineteen-year-old petty criminal William “Bill” O'Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) is arrested in Chicago after attempting to steal a car while posing as a federal officer.  Bill is looking at hard time in prison, over six years, but he is approached by FBI Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) with a special offer.  Agent Mitchell can have O'Neal's charges dropped if he works undercover for the bureau.  Bill is assigned to infiltrate the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and to spy on its leader, Chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya).

Bill begins to grow close to Hampton, as the Chairman works to form alliances with rival street gangs, such as “The Crowns.”  Hampton extends the BPP's community outreach through the Panthers' “Free Breakfast for Children Program.”  By 1969, Hampton's persuasive oratory skills eventually help to form the multiracial “Rainbow Coalition,” which unites the Panthers with the “Young Lords,” a Puerto Rican militant group, and “The Young Patriots,” a militant group comprised of poor and displaced white people.  Still, Hampton even finds time to fall in love with party member, Deborah Johnson (Dominique Fishback).

Hampton's rise and success makes the FBI determined to stop him before he becomes what J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen), Director of the FBI, calls a “Black Messiah.”  Meanwhile, a battle wages in Bill O'Neal's soul.  Will he help the FBI destroy Fred Hampton?

Judas and the Black Messiah may have received all its awards for the year 2020, but this powerful dramatization of a pivotal moment in the history of the Civil Rights movement is already one of 2021's best films.  What the writers of this film have created is a condemnation of racial injustice, mostly in the form of the local (Chicago Police Department), state, and federal law enforcement (FBI) and also in the form of the courts and prisons (especially Menard Correction Center, the prison where Hampton was incarcerated).

However, the writers also present, both in subtle ways and in obvious strokes, the racial injustice that comes from the economic deprivation and social inequality that ordinary black people suffer.  Director Shaka King shows it in the two worlds in which the traitorous Bill O'Neal travels.  The first is Agent Roy Mitchell's comfy home and the fancy restaurants where Mitchell meets Bill, and the second is the world of rundown buildings and impoverished neighborhoods where Bill is a thief, a Panther, and a two-faced, self-serving coon who has a prison sentence over his head, which leads him to be a traitor.

Bill O'Neal really isn't a “Judas” anymore than Fred Hampton is really a “messiah,” black or otherwise.  Yes, Shaka King does play some of this film, especially its last act like a mystery play or Biblical allegory, retelling and reshaping the story of the betrayal of Jesus Christ at the hands of Judas Iscariot.  O'Neal and Hampton seems like people swept up by the tide of events that was the postwar Civil Rights movement.  Their story is tragic, but Judas and the Black Messiah seems to ask us two questions:  What now? And where do we go from here?  The questions are not related to the late 1960s so much as they are being asked of us at the dawn of the third decade of the twenty-first century.

As Bill O'Neal, LaKeith Stanfield gives a layered and multifaceted performance.  Even when Stanfield plays Bill as angry or desperate, he creates multiple layers to that anger and desperation in each scene.  Before the credits, Judas and the Black Messiah presents some archival footage of the real William O'Neal, and seeing that made me believe that Stanfield made a Meryl Streep-like transformation in creating a fictional O'Neal that was, in some ways, very much like the real person.

I can see why Daniel Kaluuya won the “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar for his performance as Fred Hampton.  Kaluuya embodies the hope and the lost potential that people now look back and see in Fred Hampton.  In the last act, Kaluuya truly makes Hampton seem messianic.  And that is worth an entire shelf full of awards.  I would be remiss if I did not mention how deliciously and wickedly great Martin Sheen is as J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, thirsting for Hampton's blood.

Judas and the Black Messiah continues the run of important African-American films confronting the legacy of racism in the United States, films like If Beale Street Could Talk and BlacKkKlansman, both from 2018.  It goes without saying that this is an important film for those interested in the history of the Civil Rights Movement.  Judas and the Black Messiah is for you, dear readers, if you want  to see American films that electrify the important chapters in the American story.

9 of 10

Saturday, May 22, 2021

2021 Academy Awards, USA:  2 wins:  “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (Daniel Kaluuya) and “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures-Original Song” (H.E.R.-music and lyric, Dernst Emile II-music, and Tiara Thomas-lyric for the song “Fight for You”); 4 nominations: “Best Motion Picture of the Year” (Shaka King, Charles D. King, and Ryan Coogler); “Best Original Screenplay” (Will Berson-screenplay by/story by, Shaka King-screenplay by/story by, Kenny Lucas-story by, and Keith Lucas-story by), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (LaKeith Stanfield), and “Best Achievement in Cinematography” (Sean Bobbitt)

2021 Golden Globes, USA:  1 win: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” (Daniel Kaluuya) and 1 nomination: “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Tiara Thomas-lyrics, H.E.R.-music/lyrics, and D'Mile-music for the song “Fight for You”)

2021 BAFTA Awards:  1 win: “Best Supporting Actor” (Daniel Kaluuya); 3 nominations:  “Best Supporting Actress” (Dominique Fishback), “Best Cinematography” (Sean Bobbitt), and “Best Casting” (Alexa L. Fogel)

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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Thursday, February 25, 2021

#28DaysofBlack Review: "HARRIET" and Cynthia Erivo Are Magnificent

[A powerful historical Black woman deserves to have her story told powerfully.  Harriet Tubman, the face of the Underground Railroad, gets that in director Kasi Lemmons' 2019 film, “Harriet.”]

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 21 of 2021 (No. 1759) by Leroy Douresseaux

Harriet (2019)
Running time:  125 minutes (2 hours, 5 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for thematic content throughout, violent material and language including racial epithets
DIRECTOR:  Kasi Lemmons
WRITERS:  Gregory Allen Howard and Kasi Lemmons; based on a story by Gregory Allen Howard
PRODUCERS:  Debra Martin Chase, Gregory Allen Howard, and Daniela Taplin Lundberg
EDITOR:  Wyatt Smith
COMPOSER:  Terence Blanchard
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Clarke Peters, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Jennifer Nettles, Janelle Monáe, Omar Dorsey, Tim Guinee, Zackary Momoh, Henry Hunter Hall, Deborah Olayinka Ayorinde, and Rakeem Laws

Harriet is a 2019 biographical film and historical drama from director Kasi Lemmons.  The film is a fictional depiction of the life and work of Harriet Tubman (1822-1913), a black woman who was an American abolitionist, a suffragette, and the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad.  Harriet the movie tells the story of the runaway slave who transformed herself into one of America's greatest heroes by helping to free other slaves.

Harriet opens in Bucktown, Maryland, the year 1849.  A black female slave named Araminta “Minty” Ross (Cynthia Erivo) is newly married to a freedman, John Tubman (Zackary Momoh).  Minty is a slave on the farm of Edward Brodess, along with her mother, Rit (Vanessa Bell Calloway), and her sister, Rachel (Deborah Olayinka Ayorinde).  Minty's father, a freedman named Ben Ross (Clarke Peters), approaches Edward Brodess about gaining freedom for Rit and the children she bore based on an agreement made by Brodess' father, but Brodess rudely declines.

Shortly afterwards, Brodess dies, and his son, Gideon Brodess (Joe Alwyn), decides to sell Minty down the river, which mean down into the deep south, the worst place for a slave.  Minty suffers “spells” since being struck in the head as a child, but they are also visions from God.  The spell that Minty suffers after Gideon decides to sell her is the vision that Minty believes is telling her to run away before she is taken to the slave auction.

Fearing that she could endanger her husband and family, she leaves them behind and, after a long journey, makes her way to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A year later, Minty has renamed herself Harriet Tubman and makes her first journey back to Maryland.  There, she will either take her first steps to free other slaves, or she will be returned to a cruel fate at the hands of an evil owner.

In Harriet, writers Gregory Allen Howard and Kasi Lemmons fashioned a story that captures the horrors of slavery in a manner similar to that of the 2013 film, 12 Years a Slave.  However, 12 Years a Slave is the tale of a free black man trapped in hell of chattel slavery who is determined to survive until a miracle arrives.  Harriet is the tale of a black woman born into slavery who takes her fate into her own hands and runs through a hell's gauntlet to find freedom.

To that end, Kasi Lemmons as director creates a film that moves that narrative via action and opportunity.  Characters take action and take advantage of the opportunity to gain freedom.  As Harriet says at one point in the film – “God was watching me but my feet were my own.”  Harriet's lead character is a pistol-packing, action movie heroine every bit as stalwart as Captain America and as ruthless as actor Clint Eastwood's most famous roles in Westerns.

Actress Cynthia Erivo, as Harriet Tubman, is the center of this film's holy trinity.  Erivo's Harriet is a force of nature and the wrath of God against slavery.  In the film's quiet moments, Erivo presents Harriet as thoughtful and contemplative, but she maintains the roiling storm within, the elemental forces that drive her to return to the land of slavery time and again to free other slaves.  Erivo seems to transform Harriet's spells and visions into a living thing that devours fear and cowardice and the evil that is slavery.  One can believe that this Harriet was the star of the Underground Railroad, the network of secret routes and safe houses in the United States used by enslaved black people to escape from slave states and into free states and Canada.

Erivo's almighty performance earned her an Oscar nomination for “Best Actress.”  It is a shame that she did not win, and it is a shame that Harriet did not receive more Academy Award nominations than it did.  This film has good supporting performances, an excellent musical score, and costume design that created costumes for the cast that look like the real deal.  However, it is Gregory Allen Howard, Kasi Lemmons, and Cynthia Erivo that drive Harriet into being what may be the best film of 2019.

10 of 10

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

2020 Academy Awards, USA:  2 nominations: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” (Cynthia Erivo) and “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures-Original Song” (Cynthia Erivo and Joshuah Brian Campbell for the song “Stand Up”)

2020 Golden Globes, USA:  2 nominations:  “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Cynthia Erivo) and “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Joshuah Brian Campbell music/lyrics and Cynthia Erivo-music/lyrics for the song “Stand Up”)

2020 Black Reel Awards:  6 nominations: “Outstanding Actress, Motion Picture” (Cynthia Erivo), “Outstanding Director, Motion Picture” (Kasi Lemmons), “Outstanding Supporting Actress, Motion Picture” (Janelle Monáe), “Outstanding Cinematography” (John Toll), “Outstanding Costume Design” (Paul Tazewell), and “Outstanding Production Design” (Warren Alan Young)

2020 Image Awards (NAACP):  7 nominations:  “Outstanding Motion Picture,” “Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture” (Cynthia Erivo), “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture” (Leslie Odom Jr.), “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture” (Janelle Monáe), “Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture: (Cynthia Erivo), “Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture-Film” (Kasi Lemmons), and “Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture-Film” (Kasi Lemmons and Gregory Allen Howard)

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved.  Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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Friday, May 6, 2016

"March" Graphic Novels Marching Into New York City School

John Lewis Brings Graphic Novel Education to NYC Schools

NEW YORK — When John Lewis was a college student in Nashville, Tennessee, he attended a workshop on nonviolence that changed his life. Based on the principles of Gandhi and the recent Montgomery Bus Boycott, it also included a comic book — Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story — as a take-home study aid in nonviolent resistance. “That little book became like a Bible for us,” says Lewis.

Fifty years later, he teamed with co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to adapt his own incredible life story into a series of award-winning graphic novels, entitled MARCH. The MARCH series is a #1 NYT-bestselling phenomenon, earning a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, becoming a popular selection for university reading programs, and prompting the Washington Post to write, "There is perhaps no more important modern book to be stocked in American school libraries than MARCH."

Now, this groundbreaking graphic novel series reaches the nation’s largest public school system. Congressman Lewis and his MARCH co-creators, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, visited New York City today to address hundreds of the city’s social studies teachers about teaching the civil rights movement and their graphic novel series, which is being added to “Passport to Social Studies,” an expansive new curriculum developed by the New York City Department of Education. Students study the civil rights movement in the 8th grade, and now, teachers may choose to utilize lessons developed by the Department of Social Studies that feature scenes from MARCH, to discuss milestones such as John Lewis's speech at the 1963 March on Washington.

In today's session, New York's teachers had a rare opportunity to hear from a seminal figure of history whose story is vitally relevant to the modern day — and who now presents that story in a powerful new format for engaging today's students.

Teachers across the country, at every grade level, have embraced MARCH as a dynamic and powerful visual testimony of the civil rights movement, narrated by one of its major figures. For example:

  •     "MARCH has become essential reading in my courses... From the poignancy of Lewis’ childhood sermons with the family chickens to the courage of Freedom Riders nearly trapped inside a burning bus, each panel of MARCH rewards close readers, inviting analysis and critical reflection." — Qiana Whitted, University of South Carolina

  •     “MARCH brings the African American freedom struggle to life as no other memoir can. Told through the lens of Lewis’s remarkable biography, MARCH encapsulates many of the most important themes of the Civil Rights Movement, and American history more generally. Students at all levels will find that the vivid illustrations and quick pace make the narrative exciting to read, while also allowing for in-depth understandings about the complicated themes of race, equality, and perseverance in twentieth-century America. Nate Powell’s lines remain true to the horrific reality of U.S. history, while somehow highlighting people’s agency and humanity in the face of American racism and violence.” — Dave Gilbert, Mars Hill University

  •     "I have never had to ask students to put books down before, until MARCH." — Judith Marks, Olney Charter High School, Philadelphia, PA

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson - December 2014 Edition - Update #28

From TheGuardian:  Another "I Can't Breathe" t-shirt controversy.  The truth hurts, doesn't it.

From YahooNews:  There was hell to pay for the callous comments about the Mike Brown memorial in Ferguson.

From Yahoo News via RSN:  Hundreds of cop killings of civilians not reported to the FBI.

From Reuters via RSN:  Hillary Clinton backs federal probes of Mike Brown and Eric Garner killings.  Already she has more balls then so-called Democratic governors in Missouri and New York.

From YahooNews:  If you don't want to hear "wings on pigs," then, don't do this.

From YahooNews:  Off-duty, black cops feel the boot of their white colleagues, also.

From YahooNews:  Black, unarmed, and shot dead by a cop in Houston.

From the NYT:  Sad story about a Ferguson moment in Louisville, Kentucky back in 1999.

From the NYT:  Okay, don't act like you don't know why some people react crazily.

From the NYT:  Yes, police must stop the abuse of Black men.

From RollingStone:  Matt Taibbi: The police in America are becoming illegitimate.

From YahooNews:  Ray Kelly, who sires rapists, and Giuliani, whose vanity led to the deaths of scores of firemen, on 9/11, blame President Obama and Mayor de Blasio for the murder of two New York policemen on 12/20/2014 by a lone gunman.

From AlJazeeraAmerica:  Yeah, we should be suspicious of the Oath Keepers.

From YahooNews:  Why the LAPD is not like the NYPD or Ferguson Police Department.

From YahooNews:  Could NYPD killings trigger a backlash against protestors.

From YahooNews:  Baltimore gang member kills two New York policemen, before killing himself.

From Esquire:  Why police unions have been making deranged responses to the responses to their brutality.

From YahooParenting:  Second graders do Ferguson protest.  One student's father is a cop.  "Daddy, do you shoot people?" he claims she asked.

From TheGuardian:  Remember John Crawford, shot dead by a cop in an Ohio Wal-Mart?  Well, The Guardian has obtained video footage of cop threatening his girlfriend.

From RSN:  Football still representing... damn what the pig's unions have got to say.

From RSN:  FBI to investigage North Carolina trailer park lynching.

From RSN:  Huge marches protesting police violence.

From YahooNews:  The National Bar Association wants Darren Wilson stripped of his license to carry a badge anywhere in Missouri.  The NBA is the nation's largest group of African-American lawyers and judges.

From ThinkProgress:  The woman who could hit reset on Mike Brown-Darren Wilson case.

From ThinkProgress:  The one word that kept Darren Wilson out of jail (It's "reasonable").

From GuardianUK:   In Brooklyn, a rookie cop kills an unarmed black man and calls his union rep instead of 911.

From YahooNews:  No indictment for Eric Garner's murderer.

From YahooNews:  Another angry white guy.  No, "Morning Joe," even 95 percent of white people don't agree with you.

From YahooSports:  Angry old white guy, Mike Ditko, embarrassed for the Rams players and demands that we not weaken the police anymore than they already are.  First, I'm sure the Rams players don't give a f**k.  Non-indictments say Ditko is clueless about the weakness of cops - especially post 9/11.  Maybe, he just needs a Viagra and beer.

From RSN:  A "Dear White People" essay from Carl Gibson.

From YahooNews:  America's mayor, Rudy Giulani, says that Ferguson grand jury should not have indicted.  This from a man whose vanity caused the death of many fireman on 9/11, an event from which Giulani made tens of millions of dollars.

From YahooSports:  One of America's favorite media quote machines, Charles Barkley, is down with Darren Wilson.

From YahooSports:  St. Louis cops union pissed at St. Louis Rams.

From WashingtonPost:  Holding an entire community in contempt by Eugene Robinson.



From TheIntercept via RSN:  Klan jury... I mean grand jury in Mike Brown's shooting began Wednesday, August 20th, 2014.

Michael Brown, 18, was shot to death, reportedly by police officer Darren Wilson, on Saturday, August 9th, 2014 at approximately 2:15 pm on Canfield Drive in Ferguson, Missouri.  Ferguson is a small city in St. Louis County.  The shooting of the unarmed Brown sparked a furious backlash and days of protests, some violent and involving looting.  What follows is a list of links to news articles about the shooting and related matters:

From the StLouisPostDispatch:  An early article about the Michael Brown shooting

From the LosAngelesTimes:  This is the earliest (or oldest) article that I could find about the Michael Brown shooting.

From HuffingtonPost:  Another early article about the local African-American community's reaction to the shooting of Brown

From PrisonCulture:  A searing image of Michael Brown's father

From the WashingtonPost via RSN:  More of Darren Wilson's history and background emerges; it seems that he was previously associated with another police department that had a bad relationship with the local black folks.

From  Al Jazeera via RSN:  Darren Wilson: Judge, jury, and executioner.

From YahooNews via CSM and the AP:  Shooter a.k.a. Darren Wilson tells his "side" of the story about how he shot an unarmed black man to death.

Updated Shooting Timeline:  The AP via YahooNews.

Everything's Peachy... if by "Peachy" You Mean Hemlock - Update #77

There's no "race problem" in America.  We all have black friends.  I even have more than I need.  [I call some of them relatives.]  Dr. King's dream has not become a nightmare.  It's become a dytopian vision of future that simply dresses the dark past in new fangled rags. - Leroy 16, Aug. 2014

From AlterNet:  A great review of the new film, Selma.

From YahooParenting:  7 things I can do that my black son can't.

From CNN:  I remember hearing about Macy's racial profiling case, but not this one involving "Treme" actor, Robert Brown.

From Reuters via RSN:  Off-duty, Black NYPD cops feel threat from White colleagues.

From TheDailyBeast:  After they fired the shots, they're the victims...

From NYTimes:  Police shootings reveal racial chasm... D'uh.

From Time:  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to White people feeling targeted by Ferguson protests - Welcome to our world.

From MiamiHerald:  The rules are indeed different for Black people seeking justice.

From TheGuardian:  Gentrifiers having to throw people out of their homes.

From CNN:  Racism without racists.

From the GuardianUK:  Jesse Jackson says we can still get justice for Mike Brown.  I kinda doubt it, but I'm hopeful.

From Esquire:  The rise in police shootings, even in places like Utah.

From YahooNews:  Another black male with a toy gun shot to death by cops - this time the black male is a child.

From CSMonitor:  Mumia Abu-Jamal sues over the Pennsylvania law specifically meant to gag him.

From RSN and FirstLook:  Yes, we do need someone to judge the judges because Judge Edith Jones is an ignorant racist bitch.

From FirstLook:  How the innocent are screwed into pleading guilty.

From NPR:  Black and dead in Brazil.

From ConsortiumNews:  Is Arlington, VA racist?  Probably.

From RSN:  Did you know that Denver cops had killed an unarmed street preacher.  It costs them $4.6 million?  That was an expensive cap-popping.

From RawStory:  Dead in Alabama jails to save money.

From TheNation:  How racism stole black childhood.

From RSN:  Cops killed 77 people in September 2014.

From the NYT:  Civil asset forfeiture - makes me wanna support Clive Bundy.

From Demos via RSN:  A third of Americans live at or near poverty.

From YahooNews:  Expelled Nazis and SS still get Social Security paychecks.

From Think Progress via RSN:  Funny Ebola freak-outs.

From YahooNews:  Michael Dunn gets life for killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

From Truthout:  Incarceration, mass murder, and genocide of Black men.

From FreeThoughtProject:   Cops with gang tattoos to celebrate the people they kill.

From Truthout:  Understanding our many Fergusons.

From YahooNews:  Another unarmed, innocent black teen attacked by white cops on a racial profiling rampage.  Luckily, the cops didn't kill him.

From GQ via RSN:  An interesting article about murderer, George Zimmerman's crappy family.

From News 13 via RSN:  Michael Dunn found guilty of murdering black teenager, Jordan Davis.

From Truthout:  Cops retaliate against citizens group that monitor police activity.

From Salon via RSN:  America's summer of white supremacy.

From InformedComment via RSN:  $8.7 billion in food stamp cuts, but $22 billion to fight ISIS.

From TheNewYorkTimes:  When Whites Just Don't Get It Part One and Part Two.

From the HuffingtonPost:  Los Angeles law enforcement kill about one person a week - I'm not surprised.

From YahooNews:  JUSTICE:  Woman beat up by CHiP cop, wins $1.5 million and cop resigns.

From NPR:  INJUSTICE:  Grand Jury refuses to indict murders... I mean cops involved in the shooting death of an unarmed man in Ohio Wal-Mart shooting.

From BearingArms:  Family wants charges against fat lying bastard who made the 911 call that led to the murder of their son.

From Salon via RSN:  The strange death of Charles Smith.  Shot to death while handcuffed, supposedly in possession of gun.

From Salon via RSN:  Rock the Vote joins militia group to intimidate Wisconsin African-American voters in November.

From CBS:  WHITE South Carolina state trooper charged in shooting of UNARMED BLACK MAN.

From Salon via RSN:  Yes, Justice Scalia is "an utter moral failure."

From the Guardian UK via RSN:  Cops act like gang in assault on Latino man.

From the AP via RSN:  Students walk-out in protest over conservative school board's attempt to make history education emphasize respect for authority and the free-market.

From the Guardian UK via RSN:  By the way, a federal judge approved New York City's settlement with the Central Park Five.  Former mayor, Michael Bumberg, had fought the lawsuit.

From The Washington Post via RSN:  Cops seizing hundreds of millions in cash and property from motorists not charged with crimes.  First heard about this a month ago, and I'm still shocked.

From Campus Reform via RSN:  Students and faculty have to tell Clemson University how many times they've had sex...  Apparently, this is real.

From The Daily Beast via RSN:  Ferguson cops caught in a lie about blood on their uniforms and got away with it... for now.

From BuzzFlash via Truthout:  For Black youth, no mistakes allowed.  It could be fatal.

From TheWashingtonPost:  White rage against Black progress.

From the GuardianUK via RSN:  Yep, the cops shot Darrien Hunt in the back.  Had to admit it.

From Esquire via RSN:  It's never about race, right?  Riiiiiight.

From The Intercept via RSN:  No heads in the sand on ISIS beheading videos.

From Truthout:  NRA hold "killer cop contest."Includes a "Head Shots Only" competition.

From the SPLC via RSN:  Neo-Confederate group forms paramilitary unit to advance a second secession.

From YahooSports:  Yeah, there are good cops...

From CBSLocal via RSN:  Free Patrick McLaw - A teacher an self-published science fiction author placed on administrative leave after his work was discovered.  Free Patrick McLaw.

From ABCNews:  John Crawford, Jr., the father of Wal-Mart shooting victime, John Crawford, III, hears his son's dying breaths.

From YahooNews:  So-called witness in John Crawford shooting - the guy who called 911, has changed his story.

From BuzzFlash:  Black men who "open carry" get a cap in the ass from cops.

From TomDisptach via RSN:  We made ISIS.

From Truthout: U.S. slammed for failure to end all forms of racial discrimination

From Reuters via RSN:  Federal prosecutors will investigate the shooting death of Victor White III, a Louisiana man whose death had been previously ruled a suicide.  Supposedly, he shot himself while handcuffed in the back of a police car.

From LATimes:  Two brothers who were wrongly convicted of the murder and rape of an 11-year-old girl in North Carolina were freed Wednesday morning, September 3, 2014.  They spent 30 years in prison.  One was 19 and the other were 15 when they were arrested in 1983.

So is a Black man in America more afraid of police and the justice system or of ISIL/ISIS?

From ThinkProgress via RSN:  Ain't it the truth, girl - America has a real racial problem - Justice Ginsburg.

From GlobalVoiceOnline:  Israeli soldiers used Gazans as human shields  This is not the first time I have heard of this.  They way Israelis act, one would think Palestinians were the ones who caused the Holocaust.

From Truthout:  Black women on "Women's Equality Day."

From NateSilver via RSN:  Most police don't live in the cities they serve.

From TheNation:  How Trayvon Martin's death launched a new generation of black activism.

From MotherJones:  How indeed.

From BuzzFlash: A piece on Ferguson police officer, Dan Page, and his racist speech given before the Oath Keepers in April 2014.  From TheAdvocate and TheGuardian - Page's speech.

From YouTube:  Ferguson police officer, Dan Page, threatening CNN's Don Lemon.

From Truthout:  "We won't go back" - the march for Eric Garner.

From Truthout:  The killing of black men continues...

From YahooNews:  Activist carry the coffin of a black woman killed by a white Phoenix police sergeant to the steps of City Hall.

From Valid:  More commentary on Michelle Cusseaux, the black woman killed by a white Phoenix police officer.

From BuzzFlash via Truthout:  Most whites still don't understand the danger of being a black man in the U.S. ...

From Esquire via RSN:  Charles Pierce - Ferguson: The Limits of Everything

From Reuters via RSN:  President Obama order review of police militirization

From Salon via RSN How to Wreck the GOP in 3 Easy Steps! - Obama and weak-kneed Democratic leadership won't do this.

From RSNWhere Were the Soldier Cops at Bundy Ranch?  - Good questions, Marc Ash.  There is a markedly different response to black protestors in Ferguson, Missouri than there was to the white, gun-toting protestors at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada.

From Popular Resistance via Truthout:  The reality of militarized, racist policing ...according to a recent study, a black man is killed every 28 hours by police, security guards or vigilantes. The whole nation is experiencing these tragedies; reality is being forced upon us.

From Time via RSNKareem Abdul-Jabbar: "The Coming Race War Won't Be About Race." He says that it will be about class.  He also wonders if the event in Ferguson, Missouri will disappear down the memory hole as the shootings at Jackson State in 1970 - 10 days after the Kent State shooting.

From Salon via RSN: The criminalization of Black mothers.

From Truthout:  It's worth standing with Keith Ellison.

From BuzzFlash:  President Nixon's Vietnam treason confirmed


From The Intercept via RSN:  How Gary Webb was destroyed.


From Suggest:  10 celebs you didn't know were black.

From RedFlagNews, you will learn that everything is not peachy.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Negromancer's Fave Poli-Reads - November 2014 Edition - Update #17

From YahooNews:  Republican bitch gets out of hand with President Obama's daughters about something that is really not important at all.

From RollingStone:  The 15 worst owners in sports.

From RollingStone:  Rape... at a college founded by a slave owner that raped his female slaves... No way...

From the GuardianUK:  Angela Davis on Mike Brown.

From the GuardianUK:  You've got to be kidding me.  Masai homeland to be turned into hunting ground for Dubai royalty... Off with their heads.

From FirstLook:  Glenn Greenwald's sarcastic piece about the people most excited about a Hilary Clinton presidency.

From Politico:  Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) on why the Republicans want to impeach President Obama.

From TIME:  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says that American politicians are a bigger threat to democracy than ISIS.  Yes.

From Vocativ:  Be a cop in Oakley Michigan for $1200.

From RSN:  How to scrap the two-party system...

From BBCNews:  J. Edgar Hoover used Nazis as Cold War spies.  Why am I not surprised.

From TheDailyBeast:  Jonathan Alter, one of my favorite writers about politics and society, talks about what the day after the Republican takeover of Congress will be like.

From Newsweek:  When Google met Wikileaks.

From WashingtonPost:  Senator Mark Warner's middle of the road fantasy almost cost him his seat on Tuesday, November 4, 2014

From YahooNews:  President Obama not mopey about 2014 midterms.

From TheWashingtonPost:  Rachel Maddow on the GOP banking on fear.

From RawStory:  North Carolina voting machines acting kinda shady.  I have been hearing similar stories for years.

From ThinkProgress:  A secretive voter purge in 27 states, largely unknown and aimed at suspected members of minorities.

From Truthout:  The origins, history, and more about GamerGate.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Review: "The Act of Killing" Delves into Mass Murder and Mass Murderers

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 44 (of 2014) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Act of Killing (2012)
Running time:  122 minutes (2 hours, 2 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Joshua Oppenheimer with Christine Cynn and Anonymous
PRODUCERS:  Christine Cynn, Anne Kohncke,Signe Byrge Sorense, Joram ten Brink, Michael Uwemedimo, and Anonymous
CINEMATOGRAPHERS:  Carlos Arango De Montis, Lars Skree, and Anonymous
EDITORS:  Niels Pagh Andersen, Erik Andersson, Charlotte Munch Bengtsen, Ariadna Fatjo-Vilas Mestre, Janus Billeskov Jansen, and Mariko Montpetit
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Ibrahim Sinik, Yapto Soerjosomarno, Adi Zulkadry, Soaduon Siregar, and Sakhyan Asmara

The Act of Killing is a 2012 documentary film from director Joshua Oppenheimer.  A co-production of Denmark, Norway, and the United Kingdom, the film concerns the Indonesian killings of 1965-66.  In The Act of Killing,  former Indonesian death-squad leaders reenact the mass-killings in which they participated by imitating their favorite Hollywood films.  Acclaimed filmmakers, Werner Herzog and Oscar-winner Errol Morris, are executive producers of this film.

The genesis of the story told by The Act of Killing began in Indonesia in October 1965.  There is an intra-military dispute that leads to a failed coup.  The army overthrows the government.  It then uses paramilitaries and gangsters to form death squads to lead an anti-communist purge of Indonesia.  Anyone opposed to the new government could be accused of being a communist, and that included union members, landless farmers, intellectuals, and ethnic Chinese (according the the film's foreword).

From 1965 to 1966, death squads killed people, numbering in the hundreds of thousands.  The Act of Killing's director, Joshua Oppenheimer, places the number of deaths between one to three million people.  An accurate count of the actual number of deaths may never be known.

Oppenheimer and Christine Cynn began researching the Indonesian killings of 1965-66 over a decade ago.  Eventually, interviews Oppenheimer conducted led him to Anwar Congo, who had been a “movie theater gangster,” selling black market movie theater tickets to popular Hollywood films showing in Indonesia.  Congo and his partner, Adi Zulkadry, were promoted from gangsters to leaders of one of the most powerful death squads in the North Sumatra region of Indonesia.

Invited by Oppenheimer, Congo and his friends, especially a man named Herman Koto, recount and reenact their experiences killing people for the cameras.  The idea is to turn their memories into a movie in which scenes of torture and murder mimic their favorite Hollywood films.  However, the more he recollects his murderous deeds, the more Anwar is haunted by nightmares and guilt.

The word “shocking” is overused, but The Act of Killing is shocking.  The matter-of-fact and nonchalant way in which the death squad killers recall their murderous work can be off-putting.  The film takes the concept of the banality of evil and makes it mind-numbing.  The Hollywood-style reenactments of interrogation, torture, and murder are a collision of the absurd and the god-awful that could lead the audience to eye-rolling... that is when they aren't being repulsed and infuriated.

The problem for The Act of Killing is that after an hour of watching, all these recollections of the acts of killing become tedious.  At just over two hours in length, The Act of Killing is about a half-hour too long.  Honestly, I can see why some people think of this as a great film.  I think it tells a hugely important story, and the result is harrowing and intense.  I think it is an exceptional film and an important document (as far as documentaries go), but is it truly great? ... not quite.

8 of 10

Friday, September 26, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

2014 Academy Awards, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Documentary, Features” (Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen)

2014 BAFTA Awards:  1 win: “Best Documentary” (Joshua Oppenheimer); 1 nomination: “Best Film not in the English Language” (Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: "Bettie Page Reveals All" is as Good as Her Looks

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 25 (of 2014) by Leroy Douresseaux

Bettie Page Reveals All (2012)
Running time:  101 minutes (1 hour, 41 minutes)
MPAA – R for sexual content and graphic nudity throughout
WRITER:  Doug Miller
CINEMATOGRAPHERS:  Grant Barbeito, Angel Barroeta, Doug Miller, and Jay Miracle
EDITORS:  Julie Chabot, Douglas Miller, and Jay Miracle

DOCUMENTARY – Biography and History

Starring:  Bettie Page, Hugh M. Hefner, Paula Klaw, Greg Theakston, Harry Lear, Art Arnsie, Olivia De Berardinis, Steve Brewster, and Richard Bann

Bettie Page Reveals All is a 2012 documentary film from director Mark Mori.  The film is the life story of the late Bettie Page (April 22, 1923 to December 11, 2008).  It also examines Page’s cultural influence.  Page was famous in the 1950s for her pin-up photos, and she is still often referred to as the “Queen of Pinups.”

Considered by fans and admirers as “the world’s greatest pinup model,” cult icon Bettie Page recounts the true story of her sometimes drama and strife-filled life.  It is a story that took place in front of the camera, as Page’s willingness to model for racy fetishistic photos earned her a huge following of admirers and of those who collected pin-up photography.  Page battled censorship, including a United States Senate investigation.  Along the way, Page helped launch the sexual revolution in the United States.

Bettie Page Reveals All is an adoring documentary in which Bettie Page tells all.  She only appears on screen in archival photos and film footage.  Director Mark Mori conducted an audio interview of Page, and he used that as the film’s voice-over narration through which Page tells her story.

Bettie Mae Page was an American model whose career began in 1950 when she met Jerry Tibbs, a police officer with an interest in photography.  Tibbs took pictures of Page and also put together her first pin-up portfolio.  Tibbs suggested that Page style her hair with bangs in front, and those bangs soon became an integral part of her distinctive look.

Through “camera clubs,” Page entered the field of “glamour photography” and became a popular camera club model.  Her lack of inhibition in posing made both her name and image a hit in the erotic photography industry.  Images of Page soon appeared in men’s magazines such as Beauty Parade, Wink, and Titter, among others.

From 1952 through 1957, Page posed for photographer Irving Klaw and his sister, Paula Klaw.  The Klaws owned a mail-order business that sold photographs with pin-up and BDSM themes, and those photographs would also make Page the first famous bondage model.  Page continued to model and pose for other photographers, and attracted the attention of Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner.  Page was one of Playboy magazine’s earliest “Playmates of the Month” (“Miss January 1955”).

However, a Senate committee, an FBI interview, and an upsetting experience with a group of photographers seem to have led Page to retire from modeling and pin-up photography.  Her life out of the public eye was filled with bad relationships and divorce.  There were encounters with law enforcement officials that led to a stay in a mental institution.  Her conversion to evangelical Christianity also caused her some trouble.

Meanwhile, the Bettie Page that was an image in pin-up photographs retained a cult following.  In the late 1970s and early 1980s, various book companies published books that collected pictures of Bettie.  At the same time, cartoonists, painters, and other artists began to use Bettie Page as an inspiration for their work and some even started painting images of Bettie Page.

Perhaps, the person that really launched the Bettie Page revival in the 1980s was cartoonist and illustrator, the late Dave Stevens.  In 1982, Stevens introduced his comic book character, “The Rocketeer,” in a backup feature in issues #2 and #3 of the comic book series, Pacific Comics.  Stevens gave his star, Cliff Second a/k/a The Rocketeer, a love interest based on Bettie Page.  The Rocketeer, which would eventually be adapted into a film by Walt Disney Pictures, is how I first learned of Bettie Page.

Bettie Page Reveals All is like an open letter from Page to her fans, but the film is also like a love letter from director Mark Mori to both Page and to her fans and admirers.  Bettie stated that she wanted fans to remember her as the Bettie Page in the pin-up photographs taken of her in the 1950s, so we do not need to see her as a senior citizen in this film.  Pin-up Bettie was one of the most beautiful women ever to be photographed.  Her unique looks, curvy figure (measurements: 36-24-37), and innate sexiness and attractiveness practically shine in those photographs.  Even seeing the photos via a movie cannot diminish their power to attract both male and female admirers.

This is my recommendation for Bettie Page Reveals All.  See it because it is a unique story about someone who truly deserves to be described as an icon.  Most of all, see Bettie Page Reveals All so that you can see a matchless example of true physical beauty and perfection in American popular culture.

8 of 10

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

BET Chronicles Hip Hop in "The Message" 4-Part Documentary

BET Networks Celebrates Black Music Month with the Launch of “The Message,” a Four Part Hip Hop Documentary Exploring the Evolution of Hip Hop Culture and Music over the Past 40 Years

Features Hip Hop Heavyweights Including Russell Simmons, Ice Cube, Birdman, Pharrell, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross, MC Lyte, Master P and More

Premieres June 4 at 10PM ET

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BET Networks launches “THE MESSAGE,” a provocative documentary showcasing the influence of Hip Hop and how its sheer power has changed the sociopolitical landscape of America as well as the world. The four part narrative explores the factors behind its longevity and covers more than 40 years of this uniquely urban voice born in the streets of the South Bronx. “THE MESSAGE” examines the digital boom that transformed the sound, face and business of Hip Hop over the last 15 years and explores the expansion of the genre throughout the U.S, and the impact each region had on its collective voice. “THE MESSAGE” premieres on BET Networks on Wednesday, June 4 at 10:00 pm ET, followed by new episodes every Wednesday throughout the month of June.

    “Hip Hop is a seed planted and nourished amongst the “broken glass everywhere”

“Hip Hop is a seed planted and nourished amongst the “broken glass everywhere” of mid-seventies New York. It has grown to be a worldwide phenomenon and the dominant culture of at least one generation. This exciting series examines the origin and the path of the music and message taking care to objectively analyze its factions and movements,” said Stephen Hill, President of Music Programing and Specials, BET Networks.

“THE MESSAGE” features intimate first person testimonies from Hip Hop’s most influential contributors including Russell Simmons, Ice Cube, Birdman, Pharrell, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross, MC Lyte, Master P, LL Cool J, Big Boi, Bun B, 2 Chainz, Eve, Angie Martinez, Funkmaster Flex, Luther Campbell, Clive Davis, Mona Scott-Young, Questlove, A$AP Rocky, E-40, David Banner, Fab Five Freddy, Nelson George, Big Tigger, Sway and many more including Chris Lighty’s final on-air interview.

“THE MESSAGE” will be broken down into four, one hour episodes:

Episode 1 – The Birth and Proliferation of Hip Hop – The premiere episode traces the roots of Hip Hop from its birth in New York and spread to California with limited support from the mainstream media. Watch your favorite rappers reminisce on the first time they heard Hip Hop and be transported to the block parties, DJ Kool Herc’s sound system and the infectious rhymes of the Universal Zulu Nation and Grandmaster Flash. Premieres June 4 at 10:00 pm

Episode 2 – Trials and Tribulations – Will Hip Hop be able to grow up in a world that is no longer just about peace, love, unity and having fun? Hip Hop faces its first roadblocks with violent realities and extreme opposition from those who disagree with its messaging. Meanwhile, a new voice begins to form. Premieres June 11 at 10:00 pm

Episode 3 – Women, Cash, Clothes - Hip Hop explores a new reality of lasciviousness, wealth and entrepreneurship characterized by fast cars, big jewelry, the birth of the video vixen and the start of popular clothing lines including Rocawear, Sean Jean and Wu Wear. Premieres June 18 at 10:00 pm

Episode 4 – The Digital Revolution – The Internet creates new opportunities for Hip Hop to change the face of America. From the rise of the first major Internet superstar rapper Soulja Boy to the infamous 360 deals, this episode explores the future of Hip Hop. Premieres June 25 at 10:00 pm

Narrated by Joe Budden, “THE MESSAGE” is produced by Sam Walker II, Director of Music Specials and Productions, BET Networks, Keith Clinkscales and The Shadow League Media. For more information, visit and join the conversation on social media with #TheMessage.

About BET Networks
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ:VIA, VIAB), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions:, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the 25- to 54-year-old African-American audience; BET Digital Networks - BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.

Follow us on @BET_PR


Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Pulp Fiction," "The Right Stuff" Among 2013 National Film Registry Additions

Press release:

Cinema with the Right Stuff Marks 2013 National Film Registry

“Pulp Fiction,” “Mary Poppins,” “Roger & Me” Among Registry Additions

Heroes of the space race, a pop cult classic; the age-old battle between the sexes; and a record of Native-American traditions are among a cadre of films being recognized as works of great cultural, historic or aesthetic significance to the nation’s cinematic heritage. The Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, announced today the annual selection of 25 motion pictures to join the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. They will be preserved as cinematic treasures for generations to come.

"The National Film Registry stands among the finest summations of more than a century of extraordinary American cinema," said Billington. "This key component of American cultural history, however, is endangered, so we must protect the nation’s matchless film heritage and cinematic creativity."

Spanning the period 1919-2002, the films named to the registry include Hollywood classics, documentaries, silent films, independent and experimental motion pictures. This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 625, a small part of the Library’s vast moving-image collection of 1.2 million items.

The 2013 registry list includes such movie classics as "Mary Poppins," featuring Julie Andrews’ Academy Award-winning performance, and John Ford’s "The Quiet Man," starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Films that catapulted the cinematic careers of their directors include Quentin Tarantino’s "Pulp Fiction," a fusion of film noir and hardboiled crime storytelling; and Mike Nichols’ "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, then married, as an explosively espoused couple.

The list also includes "Forbidden Planet," one of the seminal science-fiction films of the 1950s; "The Right Stuff," an epic tribute to the pioneers of the space program; and "Judgment at Nuremberg," which earned actor Maximilian Schell and screenwriter Abby Mann Academy Awards.

Among the documentaries named to the registry are "Roger and Me," Michael Moore’s advocacy film about the human effects of the failing auto industry; "Cicero March," the confrontation between blacks and whites on the streets of an Illinois town in 1966; "Decasia," which was created from scraps of decades-old, decomposing film; and female filmmaker Lee Dick’s "Men and Dust."

The silent films tapped for preservation are "Daughter of Dawn," featuring an all-Native-American cast of Comanches and Kiowas; "A Virtuous Vamp," starring Constance Talmadge, from 1919; and the 1926 Cinderella story, "Ella Cinders." The Library of Congress recently released a report that conclusively determined that 70 percent of the nation’s silent feature films have been lost forever and only 14 percent exist in their original 35 mm format.

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant. The films must be at least 10 years old. The Librarian makes the annual registry selections after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public and conferring with Library film curators and the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB). The public is urged to make nominations for next year’s registry at the NFPB’s website (

For each title named to the registry, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation works to ensure that the film is preserved for future generations, either through the Library’s motion-picture preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion-picture studios and independent filmmakers. The Packard Campus is a state-of-the-art facility where the nation’s library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (

The Packard Campus is home to more than 7 million collection items. It provides staff support for the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board, the National Recording Preservation Board and the National Registries for film and recorded sound.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its vast collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

2013 National Film Registry:

Bless Their Little Hearts (1984)
Part of the vibrant New Wave of independent African-American filmmakers to emerge in the 1970s and 1980s, Billy Woodberry became a key figure in the movement known as the L.A. Rebellion. Woodberry crafted his UCLA thesis film, "Bless Their Little Hearts," which was theatrically released in 1984. The film features a script and cinematography by Charles Burnett. This spare, emotionally resonant portrait of family life during times of struggle blends grinding, daily-life sadness with scenes of deft humor. Jim Ridley of the "Village Voice" aptly summed up the film’s understated-but- real virtues: "Its poetry lies in the exaltation of ordinary detail."

Brandy in the Wilderness (1969)
This introspective "contrived diary" film by Stanton Kaye features vignettes from the relationship of a real-life couple, in this case the director and his girlfriend. An evocative 1960s time capsule—reminiscent of Jim McBride’s "David Holzman’s Diary"—this simulated autobiography, as in many experimental films, often blurs the lines between reality and illusion, moving in non-linear arcs through the ever-evolving and unpredictable interactions of relationships, time and place. As Paul Schrader notes, "it is probably quite impossible (and useless) to make a distinction between the point at which the film reflects their lives, and the point at which their lives reflect the film." "Brandy in the Wilderness" remains a little-known yet key work of American indie filmmaking.

Cicero March (1966)
During the summer of 1966, the Chicago Freedom Movement, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., targeted Chicago in a drive to end de facto segregation in northern cities and ensure better housing, education and job opportunities for African Americans. After violent rioting and a month of demonstrations, the city reached an agreement with King, in part to avoid a threatened march for open housing in the neighboring all-white town of Cicero, Ill., the scene of a riot 15 years earlier when a black couple tried to move into an apartment there. King called off further demonstrations, but other activists marched in Cicero on Sept. 4, an event preserved on film in this eight-minute, cinema-vérité-styled documentary. Using lightweight, handheld equipment, the Chicago-based Film Group, Inc. filmmakers situated themselves in the midst of confrontations and captured for posterity the viciousness of northern reactions to civil-rights reforms.

Daughter of Dawn (1920)
A fascinating example of the daringly unexpected topics and scope showcased by the best regional, independent filmmaking during the silent era, "Daughter of Dawn" features an all-Native-American cast of Comanches and Kiowas. Although it offers a fictional love-story narrative, the film presents a priceless record of Native-American customs, traditions and artifacts of the time. The Oklahoma Historical Society recently rediscovered and restored this film with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation.

Decasia (2002)
Errol Morris, the director of such highly acclaimed documentary features as "The Thin Blue Line," "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control" and "Mr. Death," is noted to have sat drop-jawed watching "Decasia" and stammering, "This may be the greatest movie ever made." Created from scraps of decades-old decomposing "found film," "Decasia" hypnotizes and teases with images that fade and transform themselves right before the viewer’s eyes. Culling footage from archives across the country, filmmaker Bill Morrison collected nitrate film stock on the very brink of disappearance and distilled it into a new art form capable of provoking "transports of sublime reverie amid pangs of wistful sorrow," according to New York Times writer Lawrence Weschler. Morrison wedded images to the discordant music of composer Michael Gordon—a founding member of the Bang on a Can Collective—into a fusion of sight and sound that Weschler called "ravishingly, achingly beautiful."

Ella Cinders (1926)
With her trendsetting Dutch bob haircut and short skirts, Colleen Moore brought insouciance and innocence to the flapper image, character and aesthetic. By 1926, however, when she appeared in "Ella Cinders," Moore’s interpretation of the flapper had been eclipsed by the more overtly sexual version popularized by Clara Bow or Joan Crawford. In "Ella Cinders," Ella (Colleen Moore) wins a beauty contest sponsored by a movie magazine and is awarded a studio contract. New York Times reviewer Mordaunt Hall observed that the film was "filled with those wild incidents which are seldom heard of in ordinary society," and noted "Miss Moore is energetic and vivacious." The film is an archetype of 1920s comedy, featuring a star whose air of emancipation inspired her generation.

Forbidden Planet (1956)
Directed by Fred M. Wilcox, MGM’s "Forbidden Planet" is one of the seminal science-fiction films of the 1950s, a genre that found itself revitalized and empowered after World War II and within America’s newly created post-nuclear age. Loosely based upon William Shakespeare’s "The Tempest," "Forbidden Planet" is both sci-fi saga and allegory, a timely parable about the dangers of unlimited power and unrestrained technology. Since its production, the movie has proved inspirational to generations of speculative fiction visionaries, including Gene Roddenberry. Along with its literary influence, highly influential special effects and visual style, the film also pushed the boundaries of cinematic science fiction. For the first time, all action happened intergalatically (not on Earth) and humans are depicted as space travelers, regularly jetting off to the far reaches of the cosmos. Additionally, "Forbidden Planet" is remembered for its innovative score—or lack thereof. No music exists on the film’s soundtrack; instead, all ambient sounds are "electronic tonalities" created by Louis and Bebe Barren. Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis and, in his debut, Robbie the Robot make up the film’s cast.

Gilda (1946)
With the end of World War II came a dark edge in the American psyche and a change in the films it produced. Film noir defined the 1940s and "Gilda" defined the Hollywood glamorization of film noir—long on sex appeal but short on substance. Director Charles Vidor capitalizes on the voyeuristic and sadomasochistic angles of film noir—and who better to fetishize than Rita Hayworth, poured into a strapless black satin evening gown and elbow-length gloves, sashaying to "Put the Blame on Mame." George Macready and Glenn Ford round out the tempestuous triangle, but "Gilda" was and, more than 65 years later, still is all about Hayworth.

The Hole (1962)
With "The Hole," legendary animators John and Faith Hubley created an "observation," as the opening title credits state, a chilling Academy Award-winning meditation on the possibility of an accidental nuclear catastrophe. Jazz great Dizzy Gillespie and actor George Mathews improvised a lively dialogue that the Hubleys and their animators used as the voices of two New York construction workers laboring under Third Avenue. Earlier in his career, while he worked as an animator in the Disney studios, John Hubley viewed a highly stylized Russian animated film—brought to his attention by Frank Lloyd Wright—that radically influenced his ideas about the possibilities of animation. With his new vision realized in this film, the Hubleys ominously, yet humorously, commented on the fears of nuclear devastation ever-present in cold war American culture during the year that the Cuban Missile crisis unfolded.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
Selecting as its focus the "Justices Trial" of the post-World War II Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, rather than the more publicized trials of major Nazi war criminals, "Judgment at Nuremberg" broadened its scope beyond the condemnation of German perpetrators to interrogate the concept of justice within any modern society. Conceived by screenwriter Abby Mann during the period of McCarthyism, the film argues passionately that those responsible for administering justice also have the duty to ensure that human-rights norms are preserved even if they conflict with national imperatives. Mann’s screenplay, originally produced as a Playhouse 90 teleplay, makes "the value of a single human being" the defining societal value that legal systems must respect. "Judgment at Nuremberg" startled audiences by including in the midst of its narrative seven minutes of film footage documenting concentration camp victims, thus using motion-picture evidence to make its point both in the courtroom and in movie theaters. Mann and actor Maximilian Schell received Academy Awards and the film boasted fine performances from its all-star cast.

King of Jazz (1930)
A sparkling example of a musical in the earliest days of two-color Technicolor, "The King of Jazz" is a fanciful revue of short skits, sight gags and musical numbers, all with orchestra leader Paul Whiteman—the self-proclaimed "King of Jazz" — at the center. Directed by John Murray Anderson and an uncredited Paul Fejos, it attempted to deliver "something for everyone" from a Walter Lantz cartoon for children to scantily-clad leggy dancers and contortionists for the male audience to the crooning of heartthrob Bing Crosby in his earliest screen appearance. "King of Jazz" also featured an opulent production number of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue."

The Lunch Date (1989)
Adam Davidson’s 10-minute Columbia University student film examines the partial erosion of haughty self-confidence when stranded outside one’s personal comfort zone. A woman has a slice-of-life, train-station chance encounter with a homeless man, and stumbles through several off-key reactions when they share a salad she believes is hers. Winner of a 1990 Student Academy Award, "The Lunch Date" stands out as a simple, yet effective, parable on the vicissitudes and pervasiveness of perception, race and stereotypes.

The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The popularity of this Western, based on Akira Kurosawa’s "Seven Samurai" (1954), has continued to grow since its release due in part to its role as a springboard for several young actors on the verge of successful careers: Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn and Horst Buchholz. The film also gave a new twist to the career of Yul Brynner. Brynner bought the rights to Kurosawa’s original story and hand-picked John Sturges as its director. Sturges had earned a reputation as a solid director of Westerns such as "Bad Day at Black Rock" (1955) and "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" (1957). Transporting the action from Japan to Mexico, where it was filmed on location, the story portrays a gang of paid gunslingers hired by farmers to rout the bandits pillaging their town. Contributing to the film’s popular appeal through the decades is Elmer Bernstein’s vibrant score, which would go on to become the theme music for Marlboro cigarette commercials from 1962 until cigarette advertising on television was banned in 1971.

Martha Graham Early Dance Films (1931-1944)
("Heretic," 1931; "Frontier," 1936; "Lamentation," 1943; "Appalachian Spring," 1944)
Universally acknowledged as the preeminent figure in the development of modern dance and one of the most important artists of the 20th century, Martha Graham formed her own dance company in 1926. It became the longest continuously operating school of dance in America. With her company’s creation, Graham codified her revolutionary new dance language soon to be dubbed the "Graham Technique." Her innovations would go on to influence generations of future dancers and choreographers, including Twyla Tharp and Merce Cunningham. This quartet of films, all silent and all starring Graham herself, document four of the artist’s most important early works. They are "Heretic," with Graham as an outcast denounced by Puritans; "Frontier," a solo piece celebrating western expansion and the American spirit; "Lamentation," a solo piece about death and mourning; and "Appalachian Spring," a multi-character dance drama, the lyrical beauty of which is retained even without the aid of Aaron Copland’s famous and beloved music.

Mary Poppins (1964)
Alleged to be Walt Disney’s personal favorite from all of his many classic films, "Mary Poppins" is based upon a book by P.L. Travers. With Travers’ original tale as a framework, screenwriters Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi, with the aid of songwriters the Sherman Brothers (Richard M. and Robert B.), fashioned an original movie musical about a most unusual nanny. Weaving together a witty script, an inventive visual style and a slate of classic songs (including "A Spoonful of Sugar" and "Chim Chim Cher-ee"), "Mary Poppins" is a film that has enchanted generations. Equal parts innocent fun and savvy sophistication, the artistic and commercial success of the film solidified Disney’s knack for big-screen, non-cartoon storytelling and invention. With its seamless integration of animation with live action, the film prefigured thousands of later digital and CGI-aided effects. With its pitch-perfect cast, including Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Jane Darwell, Glynis Johns and Ed Wynn, "Mary Poppins" has remained a "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" achievement.

Men and Dust (1940)
Produced and directed by Lee Dick—a woman pioneer in the field of documentary filmmaking—and written and shot by her husband Sheldon, this labor advocacy film is about diseases plaguing miners in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Sponsored by the Tri-State Survey Committee, "Men and Dust" is a stylistically innovative documentary and a valuable ecological record of landscapes radically transformed by extractive industry.

Midnight (1939)
Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche and John Barrymore light up the screen in this Mitchell Leisen romantic comedy. Liesen is often described as a "studio contract" director—a craftsman with no particular aesthetic vision or social agenda who is efficient, consistent, controlled, with occasional flashes of panache. Leisen’s strength lay in his timing. He claimed he established the pace of a scene by varying the tone and cadence of his voice as he called "ready…right…action!" This technique served to give the actors a proper "beat" for the individual shot. In addition to Leisen’s timing, "Midnight" also boasts a screenplay by the dynamic duo of Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. Hilarity ensues when penniless showgirl Colbert impersonates a Hungarian countess, aided by the aristocratic Barrymore, until, despite her best efforts, she falls for a lowly taxi driver (Ameche) —all this amidst a Continental sumptuousness abundant in Paramount pictures of that era. The staggering number of exceptional films released in 1939 has caused this little gem to be overlooked. However, in its day, the New York Times called "Midnight" "one of the liveliest, gayest, wittiest and naughtiest comedies of a long hard season." Reportedly unhappy with Leisen’s script changes, Wilder found the motivation to assert more creative control by becoming a director himself.

Notes on the Port of St. Francis (1951)
When Frank Stauffacher introduced the Art in Cinema film series at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1947, he was on his way to becoming a significant influence on a generation of West Coast filmmakers. Through the series, he cultivated his knowledge of San Francisco surrealist films of the 1940s as well as the "city symphonies" produced by European filmmakers in the 1920s and 1930s. "Notes on the Port of St. Francis" is the natural progression of Stauffacher’s appreciation for the abstract synthesis of film and place. Impressionistic and evocative, the film is shaped by the director’s organization of iconic imagery, such as seascapes and city scenes, and by the juxtaposition of these visuals and the soundtrack comprised both of music and narration by Vincent Price of excerpts from Robert Louis Stevenson's 1882 essay on San Francisco. Independent film scholar Scott MacDonald speculated that the "notes" in the film’s title may refer to "both the informality of his visuals and his care with sound that may have been a subtle way of connecting his film with the European city symphonies of the twenties." Throughout the film, Macdonald observed, Stauffacher echoes Stevenson’s theme of the "City of Contrasts" by shooting from both San Francisco Bay and from the hills.

Pulp Fiction (1994)
By turns utterly derivative and audaciously original, Quentin Tarantino’s mordantly wicked Möbius strip of a movie influenced a generation of filmmakers and stands as a milestone in the evolution of independent cinema in the United States, making it one of the few films on the National Film Registry as notable for its lasting impact on the film industry as its considerable artistic merits. Directed by Tarantino from his profane and poetic script, "Pulp Fiction" is a beautifully composed tour-de-force, combining narrative elements of hardboiled crime novels and film noir with the bright widescreen visuals of Sergio Leone. The impact is profound and unforgettable.

The Quiet Man (1952)
Never one to shy away from sentiment, director John Ford used "The Quiet Man" with unadulterated adulation to pay tribute to his Irish heritage and the grandeur of the Emerald Isle. With her red hair ablaze against the enveloping lush green landscapes, Maureen O’Hara embodies the mystique of Ireland, as John Wayne personifies the indefatigable American searching for his ancestral roots, with Victor Young’s jovial score punctuating their escapades. The film and the locale are populated with characters bordering on caricature. Sly, whiskey-loving matchmaker Michaleen O’Flynn (Barry Fitzgerald), the burly town bully Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen) and the put-upon but patient Widow Tillane (Mildred Natwick) are the most vivid. Beautifully photographed in rich, saturated Technicolor by Winton C. Hoch, with picturesque art direction by Frank Hotaling, "The Quiet Man" has become a perennial St. Patrick’s Day television favorite.

The Right Stuff (1983)
At three hours and 13 minutes, Philip Kaufman’s adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s novel is an epic right out of the Golden Age of Hollywood, but thanks to its assortment of characters and human drama, it rarely drags. Director/screenwriter Kaufman ambitiously attempts to boldly go where few epics had gone before as he recounts the nascent Space Age. He takes elements of the traditional Western, mashes them up with sophisticated satire and peppers the concoction with the occasional subversive joke. As a result, Kaufman (inspired by Wolfe) creates his own history, debunking a few myths as he creates new ones. At its heart, "The Right Stuff" is a tribute to the space program’s role in generating national pride and an indictment of media-fed hero worship. Remarkable aerial sequences (created before the advent of CGI) and spot-on editing team up to deliver a movie that pushes the envelope.

Roger & Me (1989)
After decades of product ascendancy, American automakers began facing stiff commercial and design challenges in the late 1970s and 1980s from foreign automakers, especially the Japanese. Michael Moore’s controversial documentary chronicles the human toll and hemorrhaging of jobs caused by these upheavals, in this case the firing of 30,000 autoworkers by General Motors in Moore’s hometown of Flint, Michigan. As a narrative structure, Moore uses a comic device sometimes found in political campaign commercials, weaving a message around trying to find the person responsible for a wrong, in this case General Motors Chairman Roger Smith. "Roger & Me" is take-no-prisoners, advocacy documentary filmmaking, and Moore makes no apologies for his brazen, in-your-face style—he would argue the situation demands it. The themes of unfairness, inequality and the unrealized attainment of the American Dream resonate to this day, while the consequences of ferocious auto-sector competition continue, playing a key long-term role in the city of Detroit’s recent filing for bankruptcy protection.

A Virtuous Vamp (1919)
Employing a title suggested by Irving Berlin, screenwriter Anita Loos, working with husband John Emerson, crafted this charming spoof on romance in the workplace that catapulted Constance Talmadge, the object of Berlin’s unrequited affection, into stardom. During the silent era, women screenwriters, directors and producers often modified and poked fun at stereotypes of women that male filmmakers had drawn in harsher tones. The smiles of Loos’ "virtuous vamp"—as embodied by Talmadge—lead to havoc in the office, but are not life-threatening, as were the hypnotizing stares of Theda Bara’s iconic caricature that defined an earlier era. In this satire of male frailties, the knowing innocence of Loos’ character captured the imagination of poet Vachel Lindsay, who deemed the film "a gem" and called Talmadge "a new sweetheart for America."

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Edward Albee’s 1962 stage triumph made a successful transfer to the screen in this adaption written by Ernest Lehman. The story of two warring couples and their alcohol-soaked evening of anger and exposed resentments stunned audiences with its frank, code-busting language and depictions of middle-class malaise-cum-rage. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton—who were both Academy Award nominees for their work (with Taylor winning)—each achieved career high-points in their respective roles as Martha and George, an older couple who share their explosive evening opposite a younger husband and wife, portrayed by George Segal and Sandy Dennis. "Woolf’s" claustrophobic staging and stark black-and-white cinematography, created by Haskell Wexler, echoed its characters’ rawness and emotionalism. Mike Nichols began his auspicious screen directing career with this film, in which he was already examining the absurdities and brutality of modern life, themes that would become two of his career hallmarks.

Wild Boys of the Road (1933)
Historians estimate that more than 250,000 American teens were living on the road at the height of the Great Depression, criss-crossing the country risking life, limb and incarceration while hopping freight trains. William Wellman’s "Wild Boys of the Road" portrays these young adults as determined kids matching wits and strength in numbers with railroad detectives as they shuttle from city to city unable to find work. Wellman’s "Wild Bill" persona is most evident in the action-packed train sequences. Strong performances by the young actors, particularly Frankie Darrow, round out this exemplary model of the gritty "social conscience" dramas popularized by Warner Bros. in the early 1930s.