Review of the movie: glory (1989 film)
Glory (1989 film) is a historical war drama on civil war and establishment of the first all-black regiment to battle for the North, 54 Massachusetts voluntary infantry. It is produced by Freddie Fields and directed by Edward Zwick. It is starred by Denzel Washington, acting as trip, Cary Elwes Rawlins acting as Cabot Forbes, Matthew Broderick trip acting as Robert Gould Shaw and Morgan Freeman Sharts as John Rawlins. Its production was facilitated by Tri-Star pictures as well as Freddie Fields productions although Tri-Star Pictures distributed it in the American theatres and in home-media format by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. It has won several awards such as the Academy Award.
From the movie, Captain Robert Shaw has been wounded and is being unconscious in the Battle of Antietam on 17 September 1862 where the union suffers great losses. He is however aroused by John Rawlins who is a black union gravedigger and admitted to a field hospital where he is informed of passage of Emancipation Proclamation by president Lincoln meant to liberalize Southern slaves. He is awarded a leave where he joins his family in Boston and encounters Frederick Douglass who offers a promotion as a Colonel at the age of twenty-five. He is supposed to head the first black regiment in the union. After the promotion, Colonel Shaw requests Major Cabot Forbes to become second-in-command. The regiment is joined by more troops such as Thomas Searles, Trip, Jupiter Sharts and Rawlins. They are recruited under high practice and discipline with the help of Sergeant Major Mulcahy.
The federal army officer takes the leadership of the black troops to resist racial prejudice from union and confederate forces. He prepares the fellow soldiers to battle against racial prejudice in his federal army and from his enemies who are meant to kill black soldier. Although the civil war was geared at freeing the enslaved blacks, it is ironic how the black soldiers are denied their due respect in the army and are offered positions to do shoddy jobs. Shaw is informed of plans of the confederate to execute all black troops and his army does not back off, instead, they courageously remain consolidated ready for action. It dawns to Shaw that his regiment is utilized for manual labor due to racial prejudice and decides to face up to his commanders Charles Garrison Harker and James Montgomery, who mostly engage in profiteering and corrupt deals in the war. For his regiment to be enlisted in the combat he warns to inform the War Department of these deals but his demands are met.
Shaw volunteers in July 1863 for the 54th regiment of Massachusetts to repel the confederates at Ft. Wagner, which is a risky exercise that may cost him his life. The black regiment reflects valor and respect in the course of the war and especially in the bloody assault or Ft. Wagner as some like Thomas being wounded but remaining in the battle. As he volunteer in the battle, Shawn is shot and dies, leaving Forbes and Rawlins to manage the regiment. The troop kills many southern troops. The two together with Thomas are shot and die and half the troops are left dead as the Confederate win. They bury the regiment’s casualties in a mass grave. This courage led to establishment of several other black regiments, which aided in union’s victory at the conclusion of the civil war.
The emancipation proclamation on September of 1862 aimed at liberating slaves of the south and by the conclusion of the war, black’s participation in the union army was paramount since they composed ten percent of all the Union forces and comprising over three thousand, two hundred and twenty two casualties. The encounters that these soldiers went through have been censored by most historians but the film is a tribute to the powerful and brave black troops during the civil war. Racist indignities are revealed underwent by black soldiers, which included less earnings and delays from being given provisions as compared to the whites.
The movie’s ‘Take away’
The American civil war has been neglected by historians unlike the WWII and Vietnam War. However, the film has facilitated the legacy as it talks about the civil war where all- black union soldiers have to liberate the enslaved blacks who have been owned as properties especially in the South. These soldiers however, have been abandoned as part of the historical civil war.the movie talks about the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts, made up of black soldiers to resist prejudice and liberalize the enslaved blacks. the movie has been extracted from the novels ‘lay this laurel’ written by Lincoln Kirstein, ‘one gallant rush’ authored by Peter Burchand as well as various letters written by a real historical figure, Col. Robert Gould Shaw. Col. Shaw was the commander of the all-black 54th regiment of the Massachusetts volunteers, which was meant to evaluate the potential of black troops in the army. Shaw, a Boston Brahman had powerful abolitionist attitudes as the son of a popular abolitionist. In the movie, Shaw is faced with a difficult task of implementing his orders, as being resisted by such people as Trip although they respect him afterwards because of courageously fighting the war.
The glory celebrates black’s mass courage that has been ignored in the history of the civil war due to racism. Its filming is taken particularly in Massachusetts & Georgia. Glory comprises the initial ‘glorious’ American movie regarding the civil war, although it has bits of fiction to shed light on the glorious historical event. The scenes of the film however, might be historically and politically incorrect, as they have been incorporated to exaggerate the situation.
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