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Marshall (2017)
Topic Started: Oct 15 2017, 05:24 PM (106 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Marshall (2017) Dir. Reginald Hudlin
Distributed by Open Road Films
118 min. / Color / 2.20:1

Greenwich, Connecticut, 1941, and a wealthy socialite accuses her Negro chauffeur of raping her and throwing her off a bridge into a reservoir. The NAACP sends in attorney Thurgood Marshall; he's the only attorney they've got, and to keep funding coming and membership growing, they only take cases in which the accused is innocent. Ah, but is this guy innocent? Well, Mr. Marshall is betting his career on it, and even more, he's betting the career of the stooge he needed to try the case in Connecticut court, one Sam Friedman, who tries insurance cases but nothing like this. Sam's heart is in the right place, more or less, but he's in way over his head. Meanwhile, the gentry of Greenwich have begun firing all of their African-American servants out of fear of what they or their relatives might do. It's gettin' ugly.

When I heard they were making a movie about the great Thurgood Marshall, I practically leaped up in the air and clicked my heels together: this is the kind of American we should be holding up as an example and a hero, and not... not... well, not nearly all the guys we've been holding up as heroes for the past few decades. A brilliant legal mind who won 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the Supreme Court, appointed to the Court himself by Lyndon Johnson (and Clarence Thomas now holds his seat, don't even get me started). Naturally, he's best remembered for the Brown vs. Board of Education case that desegregated the schools, but as this film shows, he had a long, brilliant, distinguished career that began by fighting for what was right, not merely for what was deemed possible.

Chadwick Boseman is terrific as Marshall; Josh Gad is wonderful as Friedman, who supplies much of the film's humor; Kate Hudson hasn't much to do as the alleged victim; and James Cromwell is the Judge - and say, he should be more appreciated, I doubt if he's ever given a bad performance. He's stellar here, particularly in a scene where he's wrestling with ruling what's right or what's best for the prosecution he favors.

Million-dollar Dialog:

Thurgood tells Sam how he knows he can trust him: "You're the kind of guy, I could drop a nickel while I kicked you in the balls and you'd return it to me."

The 1940s era is well represented by cars and music (and there are cameo appearances by actors playing Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, literary fans).

I really, really enjoyed this picture.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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