- The director has directed over 20 movies from a variety of genres. Perhaps his most enduring films are a couple of musicals from the early 1970s. This, however, is not a musical from the early '70s.
- One of the actors was in the midst of a career transition from television to film. While he wasn't quite there yet, in a few years, he would become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. He wouldn't work with the director again until 14 years later. But when he did, he was nominated for an Oscar.
- The film's score composer is a jazz titan. After dropping out of a fine liberal arts college in rural Iowa, he caught on with the Miles Davis Quintet in the 1960s. Over time, he became one of the world's premier electronic jazz musicians.
Drum roll, please...
Title: A Soldier's Story
Director: Norman Jewison
Original Release: 1984
My Overall Rating: 5 stars out of 5
The story gets right to the heart of the racial dynamics of late-War America. Expectations are high for civil rights prospects after the War but opinions diverge on how to achieve it, indeed even on what it means to be a black man. In the platoon, being on the wrong side of the issue meant being on the wrong side of the sarge and the potential price was high.
The writing is fantastic. The film is fraught with tension filled confrontation, often turning violent. Yet the most chilling scene finds the sarge staring at himself in a bar room mirror, telling tales of his World War I service.
Regarding the clues, several of you correctly guessed the composer, Herbie Hancock. And yes, he did drop out of Grinnell on his way to jazz greatness. Naturally, the school gave him an honorary degree years later anyway. My clue for the director was admittedly vague but I had hopes some might figure it out once they guessed the actor. Denzel Washington played a small role by his standards but a crucial one. In 1984, he still had four years to go on St. Elsewhere but the big screen accolades would come soon. His first Oscar nomination, for Cry Freedom, would come in 1987. His first win, for Glory, came in '89.
By request, we shall do the trivia teaser again for June. Choose your own movie. Post three clues the week before: Friday, June 5th. The next regular meeting is Friday, June 12th. I'll post the sign up list tomorrow. In the meantime, please visit this month's participants: