Not Rated–Documentary. Running time: c. 55 min.
Our content ratings: Violence 1; Language 0; Sex 6/Nudity 0.
Our star ratings (0-5): 5
It is well with those who deal generously and lend, who conduct their affairs with justice.
Even non-fans know of Jackie Robinson and Manager Branch Rickey’s bold and brave integration of major league baseball in 1947. There have been two memorable movies dramatizing the story, The Jackie Robinson Story and 42. There’s even a good TV film about the player’s earlier battle against racism, The Court-martial of Jackie Robinson. But how many of us remember what Ross Greenburg’s new documentary calls “The Forgotten Four,” who in a real sense a year earlier paved the way for Jackie and Branch’s courageous act? These four black football players, aided by their white coaches, integrated pro football in 1946. Two of them even were teammates, playing with Jackie in college football at UCLA! You will never forget them after watching this cable movie, which premieres on EPIX Cable on September 23, 8 PM (EST). Watch the trailer at: http://www.epixhd.com/forgotten-four-the-integration-of-pro-football/ .
Narrated by Jeffrey Wright and directed by Johnson McKelvy the film employs sports experts and family members testifying to the real-life struggles and prevailing nation-wide racism of the times. From newsreel archives and those of various teams we see the four in action, Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley and Bill Willis. These show the incredible skills of the four on the field, making us realize all the more how silly and unfair the national mores of the time were. The film is also a testimony to the courage and open-mindedness of a coach, worthy of being placed alongside Branch Rickey as an example of principle and courage, Paul Brown. This film, produced by eight-time Peabody Award winning producer Ross Greenburg, should be seen and treasured not just by sports fans, but all those concerned with fairness and justice as well. The film is another example of how prophetic figures in sports outperformed most leaders of the white church in impacting our society for the good.