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The Blonde Bomber
01-01-2006, 01:19 AM
I just saw this movie (Richard Gere & Jodie Foster). I think it was made in 1993? Anyway.... I've been busy!

One thing that struck me as odd. I understand that the whole movie is bogus if you don't ignore reality somewhat... but a post-civil war black judge? I like James Earl Jones as much as the next guy, but this was supposed to be a year or two after the end of the Civil War, in the south. Did black judges even exist in the south in 1867 reconstruction south?

Why throw this detail in the movie? It just didn't fit to me. The movie didn't work for me on a number of levels, but this casting choice struck me as particularly strange.

Cunctator
01-01-2006, 02:17 AM
I agree and I mentioned in an earlier thread how when I saw this film the whole audience erupted into laughter at the implausibility of seeing a black judge.

However, this post (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=5139985&postcount=106) gives some justification for the casting of a black actor. It still seems bogus to me though.

The whole thread is here, (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=123588&highlight=sommersby) if you're interested.

Push You Down
01-01-2006, 10:37 AM
It's not far fetched at all. Black people weren't just slaves in America. Northern blacks although still dealing with racism and discrimination, were able to achieve a great deal considering.

Catfood Purrito
01-01-2006, 01:53 PM
I understand that the whole movie is bogus if you don't ignore reality somewhat...

Actually, Sommersby was a remake of The Return of Martin Guerre (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084589/) , which is based on actual events in 16th century France (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Guerre).

lissener
01-01-2006, 03:10 PM
This historical account (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0674766911/qid=1136149807/sr=8-3/ref=pd_bbs_3/002-3850386-1917607?n=507846&s=books&v=glance) is a faskinatin read.

The Blonde Bomber
01-03-2006, 01:23 AM
It's not far fetched at all. Black people weren't just slaves in America. Northern blacks although still dealing with racism and discrimination, were able to achieve a great deal considering.

I know blacks weren't just slaves in America. I also know that after the Civil War, many blacks occupied congressional seats because of whites being stripped of their voting rights during reconstruction. But to say it wasn't far fetched at all? I hate to ask this, but do you have a cite to back this up?

I found it to be implausible at best. I really have to ask if it really was a necessary casting, a legitimate historical casting, or just sloppy casting to get the guy with the Darth Vader voice to speak from the bench?

I also know, as a couple of you have mentioned, that this was a remake of another, apparently true, story. I still didn't like it. And James Earl Jones on the bench just threw me over the edge.

However, seeing as the only two people who saw the movie and were annoyed were me and Cunctator, I guess there's nothing to see here. Move along.

Walloon
01-03-2006, 05:26 AM
I'm flattered to find myself cited.

For the record, Tennessee Gov. Frank Clement made Benjamin Hooks the state's first black judge in 1964. Hooks later became the national director of the NAACP.

Walloon
01-03-2006, 05:50 AM
Er, make that Tennessee's first black judge since Reconstruction.

Two Reconstruction-era black judges in Tennessee:

Sampson W. Keeble (http://www.tnstate.edu/library/digital/keebles.htm)
William F. Yardley (http://www.tnstate.edu/library/digital/yardley.htm)

The Blonde Bomber
01-04-2006, 09:52 PM
Er, make that Tennessee's first black judge since Reconstruction.

Two Reconstruction-era black judges in Tennessee:

Sampson W. Keeble (http://www.tnstate.edu/library/digital/keebles.htm)
William F. Yardley (http://www.tnstate.edu/library/digital/yardley.htm)


Walloon, thanks for that research. But if I read your postings correctly, the earliest date for a black judge in Tennessee is 1873.

I didn't see any wall calendars in Somersby, but I thought the movie took place right after the Civil War, making it 1865. Play out a season or 2 and it's 1867 at best. So, Mr. Jones would have not been on the bench.

I don't know why stupid little things like this annoy me so much. I guess I always think of a parody (was it Saturday Night Live?) that was advertising the release of Superman III - "With Richard Pryor to attract the black audience!"

I'm white. I don't need to see white people in a movie to enjoy it. And if the powers that be throw in a white actor out of context it's just as annoying to me.

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