Wednesday, 6 August 2008

The essential Morgan Freeman

The best of wishes for a speedy recovery to the actor Morgan Freeman, who was recently injured in a traffic accident in Mississippi. Morgan Freeman is talented actor and a seemingly pleasant person, who I hope will soon recover his full health after what must have been a traumatic experience for a man of his age.

The accident must have also been traumatic for a large number of Hollywood directors and casting agents, in respect of who's careers Morgan Freeman must be an essential feature for who's continued longevity they must surely pray on a daily basis.

As the Vera Miles of the early 21st Century, Freeman must be amongst the most over employed actors in tinsel town. In the same way that few, 1970's made for TV dramas were complete without Vera, I am sure many of us would be challenged to name ten recent Hollywood movies which did not feature the multi purpose Mr Freeman, in at least a cameo role, playing a judge, a president, God or one of an assortment of wise old sages.

As Will Smith, who must challenge Morgan in terms the record for continuous employment, is now an essential to presenting black men as being humerous, whilst unflinchingly noble, brooding but inoffensive and almost white but black. Morgan Freeman is clearly crucial in embodying the older paternalistic black man who effortlessly deserves our respect, and who is now a vital feature of so many American films.

Clearly Freeman is irreplaceable, for who else is there? It is decades since Sydney Pottier could be taken seriously as anything other than a self deluded old goat, and as for Harry Belafonte, I am not sure that he is even still alive. Bill Cosby made himself unacceptable to Hollywood, by publicly criticising the black community and failing to buy into their widely trumpeted victim status, and is, therefore now a pariah.

Beyond that the pool of potential elderly black talent is markedly sparse. The only other possible candidates Denzel Washington, who is not yet quite old enough, and as he does age is showing troubling signs of being rather odd, and Dennis Haysbert who played the president in 24 surely can not keep reprising the role, and may not score very very on the non-threatening scale.

So get well soon Mr Freeman, Hollywood needs you, for without for you ability to combine a non-threatening, gravitas, seriousness, humour and likability all packaged together behind a rugged black face, they will struggle to perpetuate their favourite myth.

You play the role so well, and it has certainly funded your pension plan.

3 comments: said...

It was just a couple days ago that Morgan Freeman wrecked his car near Memphis late at night, with a white woman (Demaris Myers) in the passenger seat Now his black wife of 25 years just announced she’s divorcing him, even while he’s still in the hospital.

Benny said...

Hollywood does indeed need black actors in its films so that they can portray characters who are morally superior to most of the white characters.

Take The Shawshank Redemption starring Tim Robbins and your hero, Mr Freeman. Apart from Andy Dufresne (Robbins) all the other white characters are flawed, whereas Red (Freeman) rises above them.

There's the stammering white con (Heywood) with limited intelligence who indirectly gets a new inmate killed.

There's the prison boss (Norton) who is a ruthless, corrupt tyrant.

There's Brooks the eccentric bird fancier and librarian who puts a knife to Heywood's throat.

There are the predatory homosexuals looking to take Dufresne's virginity.

There's the chief warder Captain Hadley who does Norton's bidding, including happily dishing out beatings.

Meanwhile Red is portrayed as intelligent, articulate, resourceful (he gets things), sympathetic and morally superior, despite being a murderer. Red is the one who dishes out advice. In one scene Red admits to Dufresne to being guilty of the crime for which he was convicted and we naturally admire his honesty, while Dufresne seems completely unmoved by the fact that his best chum is revealed as a confirmed killer.

Yes, Hollywood loves black actors so that it can belittle whites.

I notice that when Freeman's car crashed he had a white female passenger. Well, we all know that a black man's essential accessory is a white woman.

Benny said...

Further to my earlier comment, I should add that Hollywood directors tend not to make the main hero a black character as this would be too far-fetched. The black actor generally has to make do with secondary hero, like Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption as already mentioned.

Others? What about Will Smith's gung-ho fearless pilot character in Independence Day where he plays second fiddle to Jeff Goldblum's hero.

Or how about the black cop who comes to Bruce Willis's character's aid in Die Hard? In this film the baddies are white Europeans - probably Germans.

Or Lethal Weapon? I guess that crazy, maverick cop Riggs (Mel Gibson) is the main hero whereas Murtagh (Danny Glover - black) is the sensible, family-oriented, play-it-by-the-rules orthodox cop. The baddies are white again.

Even in Gladiator there was a black slave who treated the hero's wounds! Any opportunity ...

If only Hollywood would make a film about the killing of Kriss Donald, or Peter Woodhams, or Mary-Ann Leneghan, or Martin Dinnegan, or Rob Knox, or Ben Kinsella etc. Don't hold your breath.