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Glory - the Excellent War Film

Essay by review  •  August 23, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,443 Words (6 Pages)  •  982 Views

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Dan McDade

Brother Gerry

November 12, 2001

"Glory", the excellent war film about the first black regime, showed how a group of black men who first found bitterness between each other, rose above it and became one to form a group of black men that marched with pride not animosity. When dealing with a great film that involves African Americans, the roles have to be filled by strong black actors. Edward Zwick falls nothing short of this. The two black roles are filled by Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman. This war film seemed to be just like every other war film. Meaning that mostly all war movies have the singing among troops and playing cards or in this case, craps. This helps the viewer see past the soldier, and see the real person and notice their human as well. This paper will show how Zwick used different characters, racial wars, music, and camera to portray what really goes on during a time of war.

In "Glory" there are very different meanings to all the unique characters. Matthew Broderick, who plays Colonel Shaw, has many different meanings behind his character. The opening scene when he is lying on the battlefield he is feeling like he is in a living hell. When he is awakened the next morning, the first thing he sees is the sun. The sun looks like a narrow path of light, maybe resembling new life. Colonel Shaw, believing he was in a living hell, was awakened by a new heaven. Shaw, believing that he should of also died for his country, takes the responsibility of leading the first black regime and going back to the living hell for where he once was. Denzel Washington plays the next character, Private Trip. Trip is the rebel of the crew and talks like he has been through everything. Throughout the film, Zwick emphasizes Trip's feet, which are badly scared, bruised, and cut. The bruised feet symbolize the journey that he has gone through since the age of twelve when he first ran away from home. This is very deep because since the age of twelve he has been on his own and there had to be bigger battles to fight than the war he was in getting himself into at the time. The feet also symbolize all the training that the troops are doing and they are not being rewarded with proper attire such as uniforms. The third main character is Sergeant Major John Rawlins played by Morgan Freeman. He at first is part of the regime and then is appointed Sergeant. He is the inside leader. This helped deal with racial issues. Those that had a problem listening to the white Colonel would relate easier with the black Sergeant. Rawlins took it upon himself not only to lead them militarily but also morally. He was the father of the crew. The fourth and final main character is Corporal Thomas Searles played by Andre Braugher. Searles is part of the regime but he is different. He is the most educated man out of the regime. Zwick portrays that by the glasses that he wears the entire movie ; the glasses symbolizing intelligence. The glasses make him also look weak, this leading to the constant mocking of him.

With two races in the same movie, there had to be major racial issues. The scene in which a white regime walks by the 54th regime, there is racial slurs passed to Trip in which fires him up. This leads to a near fistfight. The two groups face each other like two rival gangs would. When everything is squashed, the white regime starts to walk away and that is when a white soldier says, "We'll see you again." This comment sounding like a threat that next time it won't end in a mannerly fashion is used perfectly by Zwick meaning that in the end they will be fighting together, not against one another. Later, they support and cheer on the 54th as they march on to war. Another racial issue was the idea of when they were going to receive their uniforms. They were all wearing basically rags and beat up clothes, but they were still going through with the everyday routine of a true soldier. As long as they were in their raggy clothes they will still be looked at as slaves. So until they received their uniforms they received no respect from the public. When they finally received their uniforms, they wore them with pride. They march in a parade and everyone, who were predominately white, looked past the skin and saw the soldier, not the race. This scene erased all racial hate in the movie, between both white and black. The regime, who were all slaves before the war, knew nothing about actual

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