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GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI

Director Rob Reiner’s GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI ($40) is an entertaining recreation of the third trial of Byron De La Beckwith, the murderer of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. The story is told from the perspective of Bobby DeLaughter, the white District Attorney who successfully prosecuted De La Beckwith thirty years after the crime was committed. The film shows the work that was required to rebuild the case against De La Beckwith after much of the physical evidence disappeared. The film does manage to overlook Medgar Evers contribution to the civil rights cause, making his murder appear more like a hate crime, than a political assassination. However GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI does show the continued racial tensions in the south, despite the progress that has been made in the last thirty years. Alec Baldwin turns in a fine performance as Bobby DeLaughter, the idealistic assistant DA determined to get justice for Medgar Evers, regardless of the cost. Whoopi Goldberg brings a quiet dignity to the role of Medgar Evers widow, Myrlie. James Woods earned an Academy Award nomination for his scenery chewing performance as the racist Byron De La Beckwith. After all those years on COACH, Craig T. Nelson makes a fine return to dramatic roles, with his performance as District Attorney Ed Peters. William H. Macy, Terry O'Quinn, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Lucas Black and Brock Peters are amongst the very fine supporting players that populate GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI.

Columbia TriStar Home Video has given GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI a very good-looking Letterboxed transfer. The transfer restores most of the film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio, lending good balance to the compositions, without anything appearing cropped at the extreme edges of the frame. Colors have a good level of saturation and flesh tones appear quite natural. The image has excellent detail, and reproduces nicely.

The digitally encoded Dolby Surround soundtrack has a pleasing mix that tends to favor atmosphere over directional effects. The film’s music also benefits from the Dolby encoding. The Sony DADC pressing had some modest speckling. GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI is a Castle Rock production, and comes packaged in a Laserdisc jacket bearing Warner Home Video markings, despite being a Columbia TriStar Home Video release.

 
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Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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