The Duck and I are going to discuss film and time. Woody Strode probably is not well known by the General public under 55. He comes to the screen in a transitional time period before and during the Civil Rights era. As someone whose earliest memories were right after the Civil Rights era Strode was in many ways ahead of his time.
Woody Strode comes along at a time where America itself was in transition. The question of the role of Black people in film and society was changing. This was way before Wesley Snipes could save the day and lead a film. It is at a time when having Sidney Potier chained to Tony Curtis in a film as equals on screen was novel.
Now the Duck can point to the abomination Paul Robeson. Yes Robeson did lead films meant for the general public. There is plenty of doubt that his vile political views got him opportunities that were not available to Blacks at the time. He also had a cult like following of losers and Jerks.
Strode was as tall as John Wayne. His magic was whether he was acting with Gregory Peck, Jeffey Hunter, Kirk Douglas or whomever he looked like he belonged on the screen . His I am here because I belong here and dignity is evident in his roles. In essence Jim Brown has this quality in the Dirty Dozen and subsequent films. He isn't just part of the. Scenery or taking up space like Van Heflin.
He was someone you could respect and sympathize with even when he comes into conflict with larger stars like Peck and Kirk Douglas.
This conversation will continue with more on seventies culture. Obama has made politics a painful bore.