The Man Film Details
Overview: An African-American senator becomes the designated survivor of a tragic accident that kills the President of the United States. Now the first black President, he attempts to end the bigotry and divide standing in his way.
Tagline: It took an accident to make this man President of the United States. What they do to him now won’t be an accident.
Review: For some reason – reasons I could probably imagine – “The Man” seems to have been buried and covered up as if it never existed. I’d heard about this movie but rarely saw anyone talk about it, never saw it released on DVD or VHS and never saw it on TV despite the fact Obama won the presidency in 2008 and the film has relevance in his regard. “THE MAN” is a TV show based on a novel of the same name written by Irving Wallace. The film, made in the early 70’s, hypothesizes the racism and conspiracy that might possibly result from a clash between a Black man inevitably becoming President of the USA, and White Supremacism attempting to derail him. Since, back then, writers probably didn’t believe it was likely a Black president would be elected by majority vote, the premise involves a Black man becoming president through succession. The President and the Speaker of the House are killed in a building collapse in Germany, and the Vice President is too ill to fulfill the duties, the position falls into the lap of the seemingly ineffectual Douglas Dillman (James Earl Jones), president pro tempore of the Senate (and who’s own party affiliation is never mentioned). Dillman finds himself at first, having to find his voice and having to rise above the Whites in the cabinet who attempt to undermine him and talk over his head attempting to be “powers behind the throne”. In finding his own voice, the Whites surrounding him begin to fear him and seek to ensure he doesn’t get too serious about his position and seek a real re-election. Next, he finds himself in a clash between Black activists such as his own daughter (Janet MacLachlan) and the scrutiny of society when he must resist extraditing a Black American who attempted to assassinate a Apartheid South African White official. This is where I will end my explanation because I don’t want to give spoilers. I find it so ironic that every pre-Obama film about a Black POTUS has so accurately depicted the racial discourse that would follow. This film takes place during apartheid and Black militant civil rights activism (not many years after the Assassinations of both Malcolm and MLK) but, the exact same issues are being dealt with today which is why Obama attempts to steer clear of issues such as the “Gates Arrest”, “Rev Wright’s church” and other so called “black issues”. Not to mention that less than 8 minutes into the movie one of the displeased White officials mentions “I know 6 states that will probably attempt to secede from the union over this man’s appointment”. Even in Chris Rock’s comedy “Head of State”, it wasn’t an hour before he’s linked to The Nation of Islam. Apparently, with all of these Black POTUS, its impossible for a Black man to be president without being impartial or linked to some radical faction. Fortunately for Dillman, he didn’t have to deal with the 244/7 news beast or the non existent Internet allowing false information and fear about his presidency to be easily propagated. THE MAN is an interesting film and Jones does a standup job as always of being a dynamic actor. I’m glad I got a copy of the film and I’m going to copy it for friends who’ve never seen it. (and probably won’t since the media is bottling it up)
Duration: 93 min
Also known as: The Man,Le numéro quatre,La loi de succession,O Presidente Negro