movie film review | chris tookey

Great White Hope

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  Great White Hope Review
Tookey's Rating
4 /10
Average Rating
6.70 /10
James Earl Jones , Jane Alexander , Lou Gilbert
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Directed by: Martin Ritt
Written by: Howard Sackler from his play

Released: 1970
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Length: 103


Biopic of the first black heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Johnson, here thinly disguised as Jack Jefferson (James Earl Jones).

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Unsatisfactory, whitewashed account which mostly avoids Martin Ritt's tendiness to preachiness, but seems fatally more interested in exposing racist attitudes than shedding light on the central character. James Earl Jones recreates his stage role, and at times this is too obvious: he's larger than life, and seems to be trying to act everyone else off the screen.
"In the distended playout of the fighter's tragic private life via involvement with a white woman, the picture sags."
"Clunks along like disjointed play; it defeats Jones, and along the way it also inaadvertently exposes the clobber-them-with-guilt tactics of the dramatist."
(Pauline Kael)
"Raises many issues but delves into none of them. Did he really ignore racial bigotry? What compulsion made him and his white mistress (Jane Alexander) defy society?"

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