George Wallace (1997/TV
Mini-Series/Warner DVD Set)
Sound: C+ Extras: C Main Program: B-
Slowly building on a series of cable telefilms that included the underrated Andersonville (1996), John
Frankenheimer delivered a decent, underrated and ever-relevant TV mini-series
on the controversial segregationist George
Wallace (1997) with Gary Sense as the title character holding his own
against a pretty good cast that includes Angelina Jolie, Joe Don Baker, Mare
Winningham, William Sanderson and the kind of dead-on casting with solid actors
Frankenheimer’s work is known for.
Monash and Marshall Frady adapted the teleplay from Frady’s book and it is
loaded with detail (often accurate) and Frankenheimer brings it all to life
with a riveting sense that is as political and it is journalistic. He started in live TV and his skills had only
improved, delivering a show that few could have. No, not everything works and when it is all
done, there is more to say, but then that is the point. It is the kind of smart television that is
next to dead. It is work to be proud of
and with hi next project the feature film comeback Ronin, the edge was back.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 x 1 image is not bad fort
its age, but it could look a little better.
and Alan Caso (Six Feet Under) made
this especially and only for television (Frankenheimer even reportedly
specified this in his contracts) and it knows how to make that work. The great thing is that he makes it work
widescreen, putting it ahead of the HDTV curve.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is also not bad, with some
good sound editing, but it is not as sonically solid as I hoped for, but a
Blu-ray with a better, higher sound codec plus HD picture could really deliver
this at its best. The only extra is a ‘making
of’ piece that tells us about the project and the people behind it worth your
time, but only after finished the main program.
- Nicholas Sheffo