“MARSHALL”  –  8 ½

     In a word:  Engaging

     This movie is not so much about the life of the first black U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Rather, it’s about a young civil rights attorney and the struggles he had to overcome in defending a young black defendant charged with rape in 1941 in Greenwich, Connecticut. At this time, Marshall was the sole staff attorney for the NAACP.

     The story focuses on the plight of a black chauffeur accused of raping a wealthy white woman, married, who was his employer. Several issues of racism are highlighted, particularly in the courtroom as the judge would not allow Marshall to utter a word during the trial, but had to pass that task on to a white attorney who had never tried a criminal case. The partnership between Marshall and Sam Friedman starts off on rocky grounds but eventually evolves into harmony and mutual respect.

     Actually, the trial is quite interesting with evidence and revelations that would intrigue folks who like to solve crimes.

     The movie is well-directed and maintains a pace which keeps the viewer engaged. Acting is good, with the Marshall role played by Chadwick Boseman, the same actor who portrayed Jackie Robinson in the 2015 movie “42.” He is a good actor, indeed, but the wrong actor to play such a prominent biographic role who bears no resemblance to Thurgood Marshall, other than skin color. Marshall stood quite tall with a commanding presence, and features that the actor simply did not possess.

     That aside, the storyline is the most important element of this film. The alleged rape victim, is deftly played by Kate Hudson, and the part of Sam Friedman played by Josh Gad.

    Thurgood Marshall’s contribution to America and his significant role in taking on the helm of the civil rights movement, long before Martine Luther King, Jr., should be a complete movie onto itself one day, and not represented by a single criminal case. For more about Marshall’s life, see the Wikipedia link, below.

     I give this an 8 ½

Click here: Marshall (2017) – IMDb

Click here: Thurgood Marshall – Wikipedia




2 Responses to A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “MARSHALL” – 8.5

  1. Pete Cuccaro October 16, 2017 at 6:51 am #

    Marshall: One of the most interesting books I’ve read is The Devil In The Grove. Should be required reading for every Florida law enforcement officer. Provides insight and perspective lost on even some of the best investigators. Better I provide the following summary rather than try my own. It can be ordered through Amazon.

    * Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
    * Nominated for a 2013 Edgar Award
    * Book of the Year (Non-fiction, 2012) The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor

    In 1949, Florida’s orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day’s end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and chasing hundreds into the swamps, hell-bent on lynching the young men who came to be known as “the Groveland Boys.”

    And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as “Mr. Civil Rights,” and the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, into the deadly fray. Associates thought it was suicidal for him to wade into the “Florida Terror” at a time when he was irreplaceable to the burgeoning civil rights movement, but the lawyer would not shrink from the fight–not after the Klan had murdered one of Marshall’s NAACP associates involved with the case and Marshall had endured continual threats that he would be next.

    Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, including the FBI’s unredacted Groveland case files, as well as unprecedented access to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund files, King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader, setting his rich and driving narrative against the heroic backdrop of a case that U.S. Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson decried as “one of the best examples of one of the worst menaces to American justice.

    • Brad October 16, 2017 at 3:12 pm #

      Thank you. I ordered “The Devil in the Grove” after reading your comment.