Tuesday, January 20, 2009
With Barack Obama just having taken the oath of office to become our first African American president, I'd like to suggest the film The Man (1972) starring James Earl Jones as a fictional first black president. The film is tough to find but well worth the effort. In addition to Jones' superb performance (I'd vote for him), there's a clever script by Twilight Zone's Rod Serling. Serling, who had a gift for specualtive writing and for making social commentary sharp and accessible, sets his political tale a few days into the future. An accident kills off the President, Vice President, and essentially everyone else in line of succession for the presidency. This leads to an African-American senator played by Jones to be tapped for duties in the Oval Office. The film is based on a novel by Irving Wallace. It was originally intended as TV movie but was released theatrically first. Supposedly sponsors were uncomfortable with what they saw as potentionally controversial content for television.
Check out my list of the best films about U.S. politics .