Monday, December 31, 2012

Movie of the Week – Glory

This week’s movie: Glory (1989).

Glory is a true story detailing the trials and accomplishments of the first all-black volunteer company serving the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. The company was commanded by Robert Gould Shaw. The film is based on two books on the topic and Shaw’s own letters (which are read throughout as voice-over narration).

Director Edward Zwick has had an up and down career in Hollywood. His first film About Last Night… served as his breakout into features (he had only made TV movies previously), finding popularity (while not being that great) as one of the Brat Pack movies. For his next film, Glory, Zwick made a strong drama built on fantastic characters and social relevance. He has since made eight films, the best of which seem to focus on the same dramatic area – exploring social issues in war time or a war torn area (films like: The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond  and Defiance, though Courage Under Fire is the exception).

Glory features a fantastic and memorable score from James Horner (here is a suite). Freddie Francis also provides wonderful cinematography (winning an Oscar), and Norman Garwood’s production design is top notch (the film falling right in Garwood’s prime, between films like: Brazil, The Princess Bride and Misery).

The cast is quite strong in the film as well, many of the actors giving brilliant performances. Matthew Broderick (maybe miscast, but still good) plays Shaw, while Denzel Washington (winning an Oscar for his work), Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman (who could have been nominated for an Oscar too), Jihmi Kennedy, and Andre Braugher make up the supporting cast.

Glory is among the great war films in cinema history (and certainly among the 1980’s best: The Big Red One, Das Boot, Gallipoli, Come and See, The Killing Fields, Platoon, Empire of the Sun, and Full Metal Jacket). It is a must-see for fans of war films.

Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray, DVD and Streaming

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