Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

4.3 6
Director: Ken Burns

Cast: Ken Burns, Samuel L. Jackson, Adam Arkin, Philip Bosco

     
 

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Experience legendary boxer Jack Johnson's remarkable struggle both in and out of the ring in documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' two-part look at the career of one of the sports world's most remarkable athletes. From his childhood in Galveston, TX, as the son of former slaves to his triumph as the first African-American Heavyweight Champion of the World in 1908,… See more details below

Overview

Experience legendary boxer Jack Johnson's remarkable struggle both in and out of the ring in documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' two-part look at the career of one of the sports world's most remarkable athletes. From his childhood in Galveston, TX, as the son of former slaves to his triumph as the first African-American Heavyweight Champion of the World in 1908, Johnson's career was a defining moment in the realm of sports history.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
History plays ironic tricks, making terms such as "The Great White Hope" part of the vernacular, for instance, while leaving the phrase's roots obscure. Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, collaborating again with writer Geoffrey C. Ward (Jazz, Baseball, The Civil War), uncovers those roots and much more in the acclaimed two-part biographical film Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. The first black boxer to hold the title of world heavyweight champion, Johnson was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1878, and took up boxing as a teenager. Despite his years of dominance in the ring, racial segregation denied him a shot at the "whites only" heavyweight crown until 1908, when he beat defending champion Tommy Burns in 14 rounds. It was this culture-quaking victory that spurred the search for a "Great White Hope" who could reclaim the crown from Johnson. Of course, Ken Burns's documentary is about much more than this specific tipping point and the catchphrase it spawned. Combining archival film footage and photos with a panel of knowledgeable commentators, Burns explores the remarkable life of a man who truly lived by his own terms, facing all challengers in the ring and drawing fire from racists outside of it -- especially those who objected to his marrying white women. Among the talking heads who share their thoughts and stories - they include Stanley Crouch, Bert Sugar, and George Plimpton - the observations of James Earl Jones are especially interesting, as his portrayal of Johnson in both the stage and screen versions of The Great White Hope vaulted the young actor to considerable fame.
New York Times - Ned Martel
In Unforgivable Blackness, [Burns] returns to the unresolved racial anguish that made his Civil War series a masterpiece, and this video biography is the most stirring look into African-American history in recent memory.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/11/2005
UPC:
0841887050623
Original Release:
2004
Rating:
NR
Source:
Pbs (Direct)
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
3:40:00
Sales rank:
8,004

Special Features

"The Making of Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson"; Deleted scenes; Special music video featuring Wynton Marsalis; Enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Samuel L. Jackson Jack Johnson
Adam Arkin Voice Only
Philip Bosco Voice Only
Carolyn McCormick Voice Only
Kevin Conway Voice Only
Brian Cox Voice Only
John Cullum Voice Only
Murphy Guyer Voice Only
Ed Harris Voice Only
Derek Jacobi Voice Only
Carl Lumbly Voice Only
Amy Madigan Voice Only
Joe Morton Voice Only
Alan Rickman Voice Only
Studs Terkel Voice Only
Jack Thompson Voice Only
Billy Bob Thornton Voice Only
Courtney B. Vance Voice Only
Eli Wallach Voice Only
Jeffrey Wright Voice Only
Stanley Crouch Participant
Bert Sugar Participant
Gerald Early Participant
José Torres Participant
Randy Roberts Participant
Jack Newfield Participant
W.C. Heinz Participant
George Plimpton Participant
Keith David Narrator

Technical Credits
Ken Burns Director,Executive Producer
Paul Barnes Editor,Producer
Erik Ewers Editor
Wynton Marsalis Score Composer
Stephen McCarthy Cinematographer
John Osborne Sound/Sound Designer
Brenda Ray Sound/Sound Designer
David Schaye Producer
Buddy Squires Cinematographer
Susanna Steisel Associate Producer
Geoffrey C. Ward Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, Disc 1
1. Introduction [1:13]
2. Rise [5:20]
3. The Emperor of Masculinity [5:59]
4. The Forbidden District [10:22]
5. The Golden Smile [16:11]
6. A Hard Man to Handle [15:13]
7. White Hopes [11:31]
8. Independence Day [21:00]
9. A Word to a Black Man [12:03]
10. Credits [9:20]
1. From Johnson's Early Life & Career [:06]
2. On Johnson's Boxing Style & Talent [3:32]
3. On Segregation & the Color Line [4:47]
4. On W.E.B. Dubois & the Niagara Movement, 1905 [2:06]
5. Cut From Johnson vs Burns, 1908 [2:41]
6. Alternate Ending for Johnson vs. Ketchel, 1909 [1:53]
7. Cut From the Prelude to the Johnson vs. Jeffries Fight, 1910 [1:13]
8. Cut From the Aftermath of the Johnson vs. Jeffries Fight [4:23]
9. Scenes Cut From Episode II [1:30]
Side #2 -- Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, Disc 2
1. Introduction [7:28]
2. Fall [7:07]
3. Smooth Goods [9:07]
4. I am Not a Slave [20:25]
5. Everybody Skips [15:06]
6. Hotter Than Hell [17:42]
7. The Greatest [15:26]
8. Ghost in the House [7:07]
9. Credits [2:31]

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