Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Brock Peters narrates and Miles Davis provides the musical score of the feature-length documentary Jack Johnson. Using stills, rare film clips and the occasional interview, director William Cayton fashions a commanding, poignant portrait of the black boxing champion who held the heavyweight title from 1908 and 1915. Also examined are the efforts by the racist press of the period to promote a "white hope" who would topple the "uppity" Johnson from his throne. Though Johnson's white tormentors are depicted as the knuckle-draggers that they were, the film is careful to point out that Johnson was often his own worst enemy. Jack Johnson would make an excellent companion piece with the 1970 film a clef based on Johnson's career, The Great White Hope.
boxing, African-American, champion, film-clips, heavyweight, profile [character], racism