Wrongful Convictions Depicted In Films
“Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor”
9th Commandment, Exodus 20:16
Tragically, many who were wrongly convicted are indigent minorities who simply did not have the resources to hire competent lawyers and investigators. It’s a strong argument against capital punishment.
And so, wrongful convictions happen. Some of these wrongful convictions are driven by politics and religion; some by incompetent legal representation, especially for indigents; others are the result of shoddy, careless police work. But, the most egregious of these wrongful convictions are deliberate. There are prosecutors who convict people they know are innocent to enhance their performance record. District attorneys, with an eye on their next election, often give their detectives and prosecutors great latitude to ensure a high conviction rate. This trend will not abate unless these miscreants are fully disciplined or punished for deliberately withholding or fabricating exculpatory evidence and coercing witnesses to lie.
There are many heartbreaking films about wrongful convictions. Numerous prisoners were freed after spending decades in prison for crimes they did not commit.
I limited my recommendations to six docudramas and one documentary (Trail 4):
Call Northside 777
Chicago Times editor, Brian Kelly, notices a classified ad offering a 5,000 dollar reward for information leading to the…
Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter, a top-ranked middleweight boxer, was convicted of committing a triple murder in a Paterson, New Jersey bar…
Clarence “Earl” Gideon, an indigent worker in Panama City, Florida, was accused of breaking into the Bay Harbor Pool Room…
In the Name of the Father
Gerry Conlon is an Irish ne’er-do-well living in Belfast. Conlon’s father urges his son to move to London fearing punishment…
This is the true story of Walter McMillan who in 1987 Alabama was falsely convicted of murder and was facing execution…
When They See Us
On April 19, 1989, while jogging in Manhattan’s Central Park, Trisha Meili, a White investment banker, was assaulted and raped…
Sean Ellis was a 19-year old African-American man who was at the wrong place at the wrong time…
Coming Soon, Can’t Wait
Dec 18, 2020 Netflix: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. An adaptation of August Wilson’s 1984 play.
Dec 25, 2020: Disney+. Soul. The pandemic-delayed film from Pixar about a school band teacher who falls down an open manhole and ends up separated from his soul.
Dec 2021: Platform TBD. West Side Story. Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the Broadway classic.
Opening TBD, 2021: Netflix. Diana: A Musical
March 2021: Amazon Prime. Coming 2 America. Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones– back again.
News Briefs and Commentary
“Live Capture Could Be Broadway’s Next Act”— Tatiana Siegel, VARIETY
Disney+ paved the way in establishing this subgenre by paying 75 million dollars to do a live streaming of the Broadway sensation Hamilton. Its first week-end over 1 million viewers downloaded the show. Netflix scored a hit streaming Springsteen on Broadway and Amazon has successfully streamed the Vicky-Jones-helmed Fleabag Live.
Lovers of theater, opera, ballet will find outstanding productions on BroadwayHD and PBS Passport. BroadwayHD is phenomenal streaming some old classics like Death of a Salesman and The Glass Menagerie. Check the Digital Platforms page for details.
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