Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Great Man Approach"

 Martin Luther King's work with the Civil Rights Movement  has greatly influenced the Deep South, especially in Selma, Alabama. On Sunday March 7th, 1965, otherwise known as "Bloody Sunday" , the SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) held a march to make resistance to black voters a national/federal concern. When they arrived at the top of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a squad of Alabama state troopers and local police forces were waiting for their arrival. The troopers shot tear gas into the crowd and ordered the protestors to turn around. After the marchers refused, the troopers and police men turned to violence to supress the crowd. As the result of the police brutality, 50 people were hospitalized.

Recently, I have viewed the trailer for the new film, "Selma." The plot is based off of Martin Luther King's involvement with the fall out of the Selma, Alabama march. From the trailer, it looks as if it is another film that circles around Martin Luther King's involvement in the CRM. Many film makers and directors use the "Great Man Approach" to portray their leading actor as the hero in the film. Just from the preview frame of the trailer, the viewer can see that he actor portraying Martin Luther King is angled upward which gives him a sense of power and authority in the shot. Here is the trailer below:

In my American Studies class at New Trier High School we have discussed the Ultimate and Proximate causes of the CRM. During these class discussions my teachers have made a point that contradicted what my classmates and I learned during our elementary school days. In elementary school, whenever learning about the CRM we were often taught that Martin Luther King was a "leading" force or causing force the movement. Although he was a crucial influence, he did not "create" the CRM, He was a product.

Another thing about this film that also interested me were the producers. Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt are bringing a great amount of press and celebrity endorsement to this film. When some one sees the house hold names of Oprah and Brad stamped on a production, the viewer knows that it is going to be a good film. Although the film still comes out on Christmas this year, the question is, will the film be popular because of the "stamp of approval" of celebrities like Oprah and Brad Pitt? Or, will the film be popular out of the general public's interest of the film?