Rubin Carter: The Movie

By Steel, Lewis M. | The Nation, January 3, 2000 | Go to article overview

Rubin Carter: The Movie


Steel, Lewis M., The Nation


While I sat in the theater watching the movie The Hurricane, I felt I was observing a cinematic crime. Along with Myron Beldock and Leon Friedman, I had spent years fighting to free Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the middleweight boxing contender, and his co-defendant, John Artis, after their conviction for a 1966 triple murder in Paterson, New Jersey.

The movie makes no bones about Rubin's and John's innocence. Denzel Washington is splendid in his portrayal of Rubin's uncompromising resistance to the degradation of prison life, his indefatigable ability to publicize his cause and become a major force in his own defense. Beyond that, however, The Hurricane buries the truth in a false Hollywood concoction that blames Rubin's wrongful conviction on one rogue cop who is eventually undone by a group of outside heroes.

In reality, Rubin and John were framed by a corrupt police force assisted by unethical prosecutors, who used racial prejudice to prevent their case from unraveling. What unfolds on the screen does not even attempt to reveal the contours of how the police authorities manufactured their case and how the state court trial judge gave the prosecutor free rein to pander to the bias of the jury. The judge did this by allowing the prosecutor to accuse Rubin and John of committing the murders to avenge a prior killing, in Paterson, of a black man by a white man, even though there was no evidence, beyond Rubin and John's race, to support this theory. By omitting the racist underpinning of the prosecution's case, Hollywood's movie-makers saved white audiences from having to confront their own racial feelings and from understanding how prejudice can overcome reason.

Instead, the film relates the heartwarming story of how a group of white Canadians who lived in Toronto and were raising an African- American boy from Brooklyn learned of Rubin's plight from his book, The Sixteenth Round, and came to his rescue. As the film tells it, the Canadians took over the case and uncovered virtually all the evidence that helped to free Rubin. The Canadians and the African-American boy did play an important role in giving Carter psychological support during the darkest hours of his twenty-year imprisonment. But the movie's account of how the Canadians built Carter's legal case simply did not occur. For example, the film shows them finding, in a former county investigator's garbage, a file that exposed how the police concocted a false getaway-car identification. The Canadians had nothing to do with obtaining this file. The county investigator himself admitted he had it, and it was produced only after years of struggling against the prosecutor's determination to block us from obtaining it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Rubin Carter: The Movie
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.