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Case Number 07314: Small Claims Court

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In Remembrance Of Martin

Paramount // 1986 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 1st, 2005

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All Rise...

That would be "King, Jr.," not "Lawrence"—and Judge David Johnson is grateful for that.

The Charge

Hail to the King.

The Case

So, a while back there was this guy named Martin Luther King Jr. and he changed the country and a federal holiday commemorating him was enacted and New Hampshire was like the last state to adopt it. We've got nice mountains and good people, but sometimes our state can be stupid.

In Remembrance of Martin is a twenty-year-old hour-long documentary, repackaged by PBS. The meat of the feature relies on interviews with people who knew King or have been heavily influenced by him. These interviews are mixed with authentic black-and-white footage of King in action—his personal reflections and his fiery public speeches—as well as scenes from the turbulent civil rights movements of the '50s and '60s.

This DVD is not a biography of the great civil rights leader; it is indeed a tribute. Aspects of King's life are of course discussed and highlighted, but if you're after a more orthodox approach to the man's upbringing, actions, and legacy, look elsewhere.

Here's a sampling of the lineup of people interviewed on the disc:

• Julian Bond
• Jimmy Carter
• Desmond Tutu
• Jesse Jackson
• Bill Cosby
• Dick Gregory
• Ted Kennedy
• John Lewis
• Andrew Young
• Ralph Abernathy

These names are an indicator of the age of the disc, as many have slipped from public consciousness since the making of the program or, worse, have become culturally irrelevant (coughJesse Jacksoncough).

That's pretty much the biggest complaint I have about the disc. Because it is made as a tribute to such a great man, the names being interviewed shoulder much of the weight of the program's quality. The substance of the commentary is very good—and that, admittedly, might be all that is important—but because many of the personalities are out of society's awareness zone, and surely a decent amount of names are unknown by younger viewers, the disc, I think, suffers.

Still, it's a nice program overall, and the insertion of actual footage of Dr. King is very cool. Those closing moments of his "I Have a Dream" speech are still electric.

Paramount has thrown together a threadbare offering here featuring a video-quality fullscreen transfer and a complete lack of bonus materials. Seriously, you guys couldn't find anything extra to include?! Come on. The man was just one of the most important individuals of the 20th century!

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 1986
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary

Distinguishing Marks

• Previews


• IMDb

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