Movie Review: Glory (United States, 1989)

Figure 2.-- Emancipation was followed by the recruitmentb of black soldiers. The first black regiment recruited in the Federal Army was the 54th Regiment (Massachusetts). THere they are in Soiuth Carolina. The slave children were amazed to bsee not only Federal troops, but black troops. The costuming is off here, the slave children much too well dressedn. We suspect the producer did not want to depict the children in ragged clothing as he thoughtv that would be demeaning, an example of white guilt syndrome. But by clothing them in such good clothes, the producer essentually diluted the impact visually of what the Federal soldiers were accomplishing at great cost in blood in the South. These children do not look like they needed to be freed. They look like they just stepped out of an idealkized 'Little House on the Prarie' set.

'Glory' is an important Civil War film and one of the few made in recent years. It was made with considerable historical accuracy, a rare achievement for Hollywood. The costuming hs some inaccuracies, especially how the slave children were dressed. The principal cause of the Civil war was slavery, a simple fact that it took American historians some toime to recognize or more likely admit. Slavery was the reason the Sothern states seceeded, although President Elect Lincoln made it clear he was not an abolitionist. And even if he was, southern representatives in the Congress could have blocked both legisltion and any attempt to amend the Constitution. And the Supreme Court had made it clear that it would recognize slave owner's property rights. Slavery was not, howeve, the reason the North fought. Lincoln realized that Northern attitudes were divided and even more so opinions in the birder states. So he made the issue preservation of the Union. Even as late as the Gettyburg Address (October 1863), the focus was on preservation of the Union. It was not until well into the War that Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. He wauted for an important Union victory--Antitem (September 1862). The Proclamation went into effect a few months later (January 1, 1863). The Proclamation had serveral important conequences. One of those was that the Federal Government began to recruit blacks for combat service. The Federals and Condfederates had been using blacks in labor units, but not as regular soldiers for combat. This came at a critical point in the War. The exileration of the earkly months if the war was gone. As aesult of the horrific casualties, more men were needed and men were jncreasingly difficult to rescruit. Blacks provided a needed boost go the Federal army. They would evenually make up 10 percent of the Federal Army, but were a much smaller part of the popultion. 'Glory' is about the fitst blck regiment--the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. The Regiment was commanded by Col. Robert Gould Shaw. The screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre. The film is based on the personal letters of Colonel Shaw and the historical novels Lay This Laurel by Lincoln Kirstein and One Gallant Rush by Peter Burchard.


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Created: 5:35 AM 2/14/2012
Last updated: 5:35 AM 2/14/2012