19 January 2005 | vchimpanzee
Winfield was magnificent
Paul Winfield effectively showed the charisma of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a speaker and leader. He also showed as a human side to Dr. King, a man who could be scared and even cry privately, a man who could laugh and have fun with his family and friends, and yet a man who didn't understand why people wanted him to lead the movement. He didn't feel confident about his own abilities, yet he made the most of what he had and, based on what I saw here, few if any could have done better. Winfield looked too old for the younger King, and he didn't deliver the 'I have a dream' speech exactly as King did (though imitating might not have been as effective), but these are minor flaws.
And there were too many good acting performances to list. Cicely Tyson as Coretta, Ossie Davis as an angry King Sr., Dick Anthony Williams as an evil Malcolm X--just a few that I remember; there may have been others but I didn't recall the name of the characters. The only performance I was not happy with was Cliff De Young as Robert Kennedy, who came across as a whiny teenager.
This was a good presentation of the Civil Rights Movement--a little violent at times, but the violence was necessary. We saw the determination of the leaders and of ordinary people, even children. The 6-letter word starting with N was of course used a lot and no one censored it. A couple of times King's last name was changed, by opponents, to that of the small mammal with the black mask.
I was always intimidated by the length of this program, but one station in my area showed it a whole week before the King holiday, while the other waited until this past weekend. It definitely was worth seeing.