11 January 2006 | edwagreen
High School Horror Stars in Racially Charged Film ****
The story of the efforts to bring about racial integration and the attempts to defeat it are well-defined in this excellent made for television movie in 1981.
Joanne Woodward has never been better as English teacher Elizabeth Huckaby. Her memoirs detail the emotionally charged academic year of 1957 when the school was ordered to admit black students.
Looking at Ms. Woodward, she represented the embodiment of an English teacher far outdoing the comical Eve Arden in "Our Miss Brooks."
Teaching became an absolute disaster that year with student minds concentrated on the picketing and racial taunts being hurled at black students attempting to enter. With it all, Huckaby attempts to conduct classes, as emotions run high throughout the school and country.
Woodward's success as Huckaby is depicted by her being a victim of the situation as well. Finally, we see her in a role where she is not emotionally entangled because of her own personal hangups. She is the way she is because of the situation around her.
Those black students who arrive face an awesome situation. Insulted, bullied and threatened, one decides to leave but the others will stick with it.
What an academic year in this engrossing film!