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What is your opinion about "MISSISSIPPI BURNING"?


FredCDobbs
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It's an engaging drama. Not necessarily all that accurate as a history lesson, but Hollywood projects rarely are. As it's based loosely on some events and distills some of the attitudes of a time and place in history, it makes for a decently entertaining movie with some fine acting.

 

I liked it.

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Fred asked me to copy this from another thread in order to keep everyone on the same page. Glad to oblige.

 

What is it about "Mississippi Burning" that you don't like?

 

It took an organization (the FBI) that did nothing whatever to help the civil rights movement and did much to hinder it*, and made it into some sort of a white knight crusader for racial justice, which is about as far from the historical truth as possible. The civil rights movement itself was rendered virtually invisible throughout the film. The movie took one specific case of racially motivated murder in a state with dozens of such murders, and made it into a generic Hollywood cop movie, scarcely distinguishable from scores of others.

 

It's not just about the movie that was made. It's about the many movies about Mississippi Summer that Hollywood chose *not* to make. You can defend the slant of Mississippi Burning on purely commercial grounds, I suppose, but it doesn't make the movie any better. In terms of historical reality, it was a pure embarrassment.

 

*Ignoring countless well documented reports of violence and intimidation; using the narrowest possible interpretation of the law to refuse to act when they saw federal laws being violated right in front of their eyes; compiling dossiers of civil rights workers (I was one of them) and in some cases (like with Hoover and King) attempting to blackmail them. The best thing you can say about J. Edgar Hoover is that in 41 years he hasn't yet managed to rise up from his grave.

 

The review in The Guardian put it quite succinctly: *"Mississippi Burning is written, acted and filmed with flair, but its history and politics are as murky as a Mississippi swamp."*

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I would say that Hollywood film makers can play "fast and loose" with historical facts as long as the consequences are of little importance (like the many versions of "the gunfight at the O K corral"). But considering the seriousness of the subject manner involved in "Mississippi Burning" playing fast and loose is quite disgraceful. I don't care how "entertaining" the storyline or the acting is. It seems that the movie itself should be burned.

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That the writers would play "fast and loose" with the facts I expected before ever watching it. That the southern deputies would be portrayed as stereotyped cartoons was expected, too. But it still entertained me. Brad Dourif does those kind of roles so well, he couldn't miss. Obviously NOT an objective take on the subject, but who even thought it WOULD be a documentary? There's worse movies on this type of subject, but also better ones, I imagine.

 

And I always wondered...was Hoover buried in a suit, or a DRESS?

 

Sepiatone

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