the American Civil War was, to most people, a clash between the
"good guys" of the North, fighting to do away with the evils of
slavery defended by "the bad guys" of the South, to view it that
way is to distort the truth.
a large number of northerners agreed with freeing slaves, many did
not, and the decision to do so was as much a political move by President
Abraham Lincoln - to help avoid Britain and France from backing
the secessionist Southern states - as a genuine piece of social
further muddy the "good guys" legend, while blacks were set free
in the rebel South, those in the North had to wait some time longer
for their right to be treated as humans.
story of Glory is that of the black soldiers of the 54th
Massachusetts, the first coloured regiment in the United States
army, and their trials and tribulations before not only being accepted
as equal men, but also get their chance to prove themselves in battle.
on actual incidents and people - in particular the young white colonel
of the regiment, Robert Gould Shaw - Glory is a very powerful
examination of freed slaves desperately trying to be accepted in
a society that has treated them extremely badly and just how far
they will travel for such acceptance.
Broderick (Shaw) and his friend, Major Cabot Forbes (Elwes), not
only have to deal with racism against their men from their own side,
but they know they face execution if captured leading black troops.
the soldiery, Morgan Freeman stands out as the calm older man, Sergeant
Major John Rawlins, who keeps the more fiery or easily-led elements
of the problem characters is the uneducated and angry Trip, who
is played vibrantly by Denzel Washington.
scene where Trip is lashed for desertion is quite outstanding as
the actor had to endure the whipping, which stung rather than hurt,
until he "felt something''.
Edward Zwick didn't think Washington was getting in touch with the
loss of dignity and humiliation of the punishment and so a 1000
feet of film was loaded into the camera and the whip hand was not
to stop until Denzel "found it".
eventually discovered the shame of the loss of control and the tears
run down his cheek. An extraordinary moment of film.
then Glory is an extraordinary movie and is one that will
appeal to not only those who like war movies, but also those who
like character interaction and a good, involving storyline.
action scenes are spectacular - with thousands of Civil War re-enactors
being given the chance to fight on - but then so are the quiet moments
of introspection and Zwick shows himself adept at handling both
Oscars were won by Glory. Best supporting actor (Washington),
best cinematography and best sound.