Black Brigade (1969) live action, movie – USA

Black Brigade
Drama, war
Director: George McCowan
Writers: Aaron Spelling, David Kidd
Starring: Stephen Boyd, Robert Hooks, Roosevelt Grier, Moses Gunn, Richard Pryor, Glynn Turman, Billy Dee Williams, Paul Stewart

Set during World War II,  white and slightly racist Army Captain Beau Carter is put in charge of an all black unit that hasn’t had proper training and no experience with a mission to stop the Nazis from destroying an important dam.

So… I decided to watch the movie because it was in a DVD set I got for free while I was working at the library. In all honesty, although WWII interests me, it’s not something I’d actively seek out movies or books on (although there’s although German helmet I want and a Hitler youth dagger I want but the swastikas are always  missing and I’m not gonna spend that kind of money on something like that. It isn’t worth it if it isn’t all there).

This movie certainly wasn’t what I expected. The case insisted the captain wasn’t racist. He was. He held a gun to the temple of the first black guy he came across, threatened to break the arm of, then have court marshelled the second guy, was surprised as fuck to hear the one was a teacher, got another killed so he could save an hour, freaked out on another because he got too close to a white woman then threatened to kill another because he was scared. During the first half hour or so, I expected something funny. The white guy was a racist prick and the black guys spent half the time making fun of him. But it actually turned into something serious and good and by the end of it, the prick realized he should quit being a prick. Probably in part to the one guy pointing out that if he kept it up, he’ll get killed because the people on his side won’t bother to help him.

It was way better than I expected, certainly not the greatest war movie I’ve ever seen (71: Into the Fire, Silent Night or Grave of the Fireflies still holds the top) but it’s pretty good. It centers more on the characters than the actual war which I think works well I’m this case. I don’t think it would have been anywhere near as good if it didn’t focus on the characters.


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