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Archive for the ‘Chadwick Boseman’ Category

42

17 Apr

42 –– directed by Brian Helgeland. Sports Docudrama. In 1947, Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team ushers the first negro player into major league baseball, Jackie Robinson, and it aint easy. 129 minutes Color 2013.

★★★★★

I wanted this film to last forever. Is that true, I asked myself, and the answer was, Well, maybe as long as a baseball game.

It has a terrible musical score, full of triumphals and emotional sofas, whereas the material speaks for itself without outside assistance. But you just have to set this torture aside the same way as Jackie Robinson had to set aside the taunts and meanness and murder threats which dogged him as he underwent the ordeal.

What a valiant human being!

What a thing to do!

I lived in Queens when it went on, and my brother was a Dodgers fan with the radio on. It was happening five miles away. It was happening right there. The radio being a more intimate medium than TV, it was happening right in the bedroom I shared with him.

It was a scandal.

It was a scandal because no one much thought about blacks not playing on baseball teams in those days. Only a few black families lived where I lived, but Freddy Perkins was always first choice on the schoolyard team, so in a way it was a scandal also because so much was being made of it. And because we said to ourselves, Oh, right, I never thought of it in major league baseball. How odd of me!

But it was a big deal, and this film realizes that it is still a big deal. The human suffering hidden in black faces is of vast importance.

And that’s what we see in Chadwick Boseman who plays Robinson. I can’t imagine how anyone could be better or more right. While he does not have the monolithic aspect of Robinson, he certainly has the finesse for Robinson’s skills stealing bases and holding his ground while being heckled by crowds and boycotted even by his own team members. And he certainly is a gentleman.

As Branch Rickey, his sponsor in the endeavor, Harrison Ford gives a big hammy performance, which, from this actor, at least is something. The part is very well written, and Ford is quite stirring and entertaining in it.

There isn’t much more to say about the film.

Except that you owe it to yourself to see it. You owe it to your heart to be filled with compassion and gratitude for the valor it took for these two men, these two and no other, to do this for us. You just do.

 
 
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