Glory Movie Summary
Glory–based on the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry: the first unit of the U.S. Army made up entirely of black soldiers–takes place during the Civil War. This story of brave black soldiers, is told through the eyes of a white man. In 1989, there was but one white actor who possessed the qualities necessary to play emissary and spokesman for all African-Americans, only one man who had the gravitas one would expect of Surrogate Negro. That actor was Matthew Broderick, of Project X and War Games fame.
Matthew Broderick plays Robert Gould Shaw, one of the only historical figures in this movie based on history. Shaw was born in 1837 in Boston to a family of great wealth and social and political prominence. Shaw’s parents were abolitionists, and Shaw took up the family cause by dropping out of Harvard, and taking a commission as an infantry officer shortly after the Civil War began.
Glory begins with Shaw, now a captain, leading an infantry unit at the Battle of Antietam, which would become the bloodiest single day in our nation’s history, with about 23,000 casualties. Shaw suffers a minor flesh wound to his neck, but a greater wound to his psyche. He spends the rest of the movie wrestling with PTSD, or in playground terminology: whether or not to puss out. After the horrors he witnessed in the battle field and army hospital, Shaw now spills punch onto his dress blues any time a servant closes a shutter.read full summary
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