Movie Diary 10/25/2017

Sergeant Rutledge (John Ford, 1960). The military trial of a “buffalo soldier,” played by the monumental Woody Strode, in a film that has some very strange tones but some very deft storytelling devices, too. Great moment from the middle of the movie, when the white characters played by Jeffrey Hunter and Constance Towers exit a room and the scene continues with four African-American characters continuing to talk with each other – not as comic relief, but as an integral part of the central plot. The sequence feels like something significant in a big Hollywood film.

Buffalo Soldiers (Charles Haid, 1997). Good TV-movie about the black troops in post-Civil War America, with Danny Glover, Mykelti Williamson, and a super-cool Carl Lumbly. In the final 20 minutes the film takes an unexpected turn and finds a really rather radical way to resolve a cavalry vs. Indians standoff – you can see the NFL “take a knee” strategy being explored in Western terms.

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