It should be
no surprise that, with Ava DuVernay’s acclaimed “Selma” set for release nationwide
in January, there would be attempts to capitalize on the film, with the release
(or re-release in this matter) of older films that are thematically similar.
us the announcement yesterday that the Olive Films DVD label will be releasing, on Jan. 27, a re-mastered blu-ray DVD of the TV mini-series “King: The Martin Luther King
Story,” starring Paul Winfield as MLK, and Cicely
Tyson as Coretta Scott King (the series was previously released on standard DVD by MGM/Fox
Home Video, back in 2005).
The 6 hour mini-series
was broadcast on NBC in Feb 1978, over three nights, to wide acclaim, and obviously
had the approval of the King family, since several family members, including King’s sister Christine King Farris, his niece
Alveda King, and his four children – Martin III, Dexter, Bernice, and Yolanda – all appeared in small roles in the series, with special notice given to Yolanda, who played Rosa Parks in the program.
mini-series was written and directed by screenwriter Abby Mann (his only directorial
effort), who, for most of his career, was one of the most prestigious and praised film and TV writers from the 1950’s to the
Another TV mini-series he wrote for CBS in 1985, about the infamous Atlanta Child
Murders during the early 1980’s, was met with some controversy.
Not surprisingly, the King series was also met with controversy by some who felt
that the film misrepresented King as someone who “sort of” stumbled into his
position as a civil rights leader and political activist, and became deeply involved
in the movement, instead of a person who had a clear goal and purpose in mind
from the beginning.
would be fascinating, after all these decades, to take another look at “King,” to
see how it holds up to what we know today about the man and the entire Civil Rights
movement back then, and what we are currently experiencing today.