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Mainstream - George Wallace

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George Wallace - 2 DVD Special Edition
Gary Sinise, Angelina Jolie, Clarence Williams III, Mare Winningham
Produced and directed by Frank Oppenheimer
Originally aired TNT 1997
Warner Home Video 2009
185 minutes

If you like political and bio pics, George Wallace is a good addition to a DVD collection. This Frank Oppenheimer made for TV movie stars Gary Sinise as Alabama Governor George Wallace, a pre-Brangelina Angelina Jolie as his second wife, and Mare Winningham as Wallace’s first wife and the first woman governor of the United States. Originally aired on TNT in 1997, George Wallace has lost and will lose none of its interest.

George Wallace is not only a bio and political picture but it is also a somewhat superficial study of race politics in sixties and seventies America. Consequently, this movie is not for the faint of N-word as it is used quite often.

It is interesting how Oppenheimer manages to present a fair and honest portrait of Govenor Wallace. The man was indeed a racist but he was also a very intelligent and complex political animal and that really comes through.

This biopic is sometimes clumsily obvious when it comes to symbolism, such as when Wallace’s political banner falls to the ground when he says he understands the people of Alabama during his first gubernatorial race, but it is well-made overall. Its mix of flashback, black and white, color, and news footage really makes the period come through.

Mare Winningham is quite subdued as the first Mrs. Wallace. Clarence Williams III (Mod Squad and small parts since) has a lot to do and on his shoulders as the quiet Black servant with no lines whatsoever.

The one weak point in George Wallace is the make-up. This is especially obvious early on with the close-ups of Sinise’s face in the hospital scene.

George Wallace is a quite interesting biopic and political movie. It is a bit superficial when it comes to history and a bit on the long side.

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