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Ghosts of Mississippi 1996
Description: Ghosts of Mississippi is a drama covering the final trial of the assassin, Bryon De La Beckwith, of the 60s civil rights leader Medgar Evers. It starts with the murder and the happenings surrounding the two initial trials which both ended in a hung jury. The film then covers District Attorney, Bobby DeLaughters transformation and alliance with Myrlie Evers, wife of Medgar Evers, of the, as he becomes more involved with bringing Beckwith to trial for the third time 30 years later. Some of the characters are played by the current participants in this story.
Released: 03 Jan 1997 Director: Rob Reiner Writers: Lewis Colick Actors: Alec Baldwin, James Woods, Virginia Madsen, Whoopi Goldberg Genres: Drama, History
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Ghosts of Mississippi Reviews:

Based on fact and directed by Rob Reiner, Ghosts recounts the investigation, and retrial in 1994 - after two mistrials in the 60s - of Byron de la Beckwith for the racist shooting in 1963 of Medgar Evers, an NAACP activist. The movie has gained renewed topicality with the newest conviction of other white supremacist for the Birmingham, Alabama, Baptist Church bombing, also in 1963.Alec Baldwin gives a solid, and sometimes stolid, performance in the central role of prosecuting DA, Bobby DeLaughter (pronounced DeLaw), himself from Mississippi's white uppercrust, whose marriage hits the rocks because of his pursuit of the case. James Woods, convincingly made up to look over 70 for most of the movie, is electrifying as the arrogant, hateful Beckwith. Whoopi Goldberg portrays Medgar's widow with a lot of dignity and even a touch of humour, but it would have been understandable if she had also displayed a tiny more bitterness. The film is possibly not as strong as Reiner hoped, partly no doubt because he was restricted by the facts. In particular, the retrial seems to have thrown up tiny or no fresh evidence, thus making the courtroom action less dramatic than in a fictional movie. Perhaps a greater criticism is that the intense focus on Baldwin/DeLaughter, who is in almost each scene, tends to turn him into the character of the movie; whereas it could be Medgar Evers, who as a civil rights activist in one of the most bigoted territories of the USA deserves everyone's undying admiration. Despite the movie's flaws, it is gripping for most of its 130 minutes, and this was certainly a storyline worth telling.


Medgar Evers' tragic murder in Jackson, Mississippi, was overshadowed by the cold-blooded killing of three civil rights workers near Philadelphia, Mississippi, a year later. So too this movie has been overshadowed by an earlier movie, "Mississippi Burning," about the Philadelphia homicides. I was even confused by the related games and accidentally rented "Ghosts of Mississippi," thinking it to be the earlier film. This is too terrible because "Ghosts of Mississippi" is a champion all the method and Medgar Evers' assassination was as significant, if not more so, than the soon dastardly acts of hate and malevolence.Most of my generation remember one of Dylan's early recordings he wrote named "Pawn in the Game" about the Medgar Evers murder in which Dylan asserts that the coward who pulled the trigger and shot the civil rights leader in the back in front of his wife and three kids was carrying out what the racist elements in Mississippi and in the nation as a entire had brainwashed the easy mind into executing. That the endemic racism in American was the true perpetrator of the heinous deed which deprived our society of one of its gifted leaders. "Ghosts of Mississippi" concentrates more on the scumbag who squeezed the trigger, played with élan by James Woods, almost a carbon copy of the assassin in both speech, mannerisms, and looks.James Woods is a member of a powerful cast led by Whoopi Goldberg as the widow, Myrlie Evers, spending her life seeking a degree of justice for her husband and children. William H. Macy adds much required humor in the role of Charlie Crisco, a member of the prosecution team. Unfortunately, his part is mainly limited to the middle section of the movie. Why director Rob Reiner and writer Lewis Colick decided to turn Macy's hero into a cameo during the latter part of the movie is unclear.A subplot in the movie is the growing involvement of prosecutor Bobby DeLaughter (Alec Baldwin) in the case, opening his eyes not only to the past evils of the society in which he lives but also hostile residue left by the civil rights movement in the state. Married to the daughter of one of Mississippi's most racist judges causes him to be blind to much of the injustice prevalent around him. Significantly, his wife is called Dixie (Virginia Madsen). The change that takes zone in his hero (which also involves a change in wives) as he is drawn deeper into the thirty-year-old situation is pinpointed by his inability to continue to sing "Dixie" to his daughter to chase away the ghosts she sees at night. In explaining to her that the song might now be encouraging the ghosts to reappear in her bedroom, the two opt for "Old McDonald" as a more suitable goodnight song.


THIS FILM IS BASED ON A TRUE STORY. Not only was the true Myrlie Evers consulted while making the film, two of her and Medgar's sons were now in the film, testing themselves. Benny Bennett also played himself.It was based on a current (although tiny known) happening in American history, and shows how there are still conflicts over civil rights today. We also learn that there are still some folks in the Southern U.S. that are opposed to laws that have been in zone for over 35 years.So while watching this you shouldn't think "the storyline is cliche" or "the acting was good, but predictable," you could be thinking that this now happened, and reflecting on how far we've come as a society, and how far we still need to go.



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