Glory, Glory

Please forward this error screen to 192. Glory, Glory Shaw, its white commanding officer. The regiment is known especially for its heroic actions at Fort Wagner.

Glory was nominated for five Academy Awards and won three, including one for Denzel Washington for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Private Silas Tripp. During the American Civil War, Captain Robert Shaw, injured at Antietam, is sent home to Boston on medical leave. The men learn that, in response to the Emancipation Proclamation, the Confederacy has issued an order that all black soldiers will be returned to slavery. Shaw orders him flogged in front of the troops. He then learns that Tripp left to find shoes to replace his worn ones because his men are being denied supplies. He confronts the base’s racist quartermaster on their behalf.

Once the 54th completes its training, they are transferred under the command of General Charles Harker. On the way to South Carolina they are ordered by Colonel James Montgomery to sack and burn Darien, Georgia. General George Strong informs Shaw of a major campaign to secure a foothold at Charleston Harbor. The 54th leads the charge on the fort suffering heavy casualties. At night the bombardment continues, forestalling progress. Attempting to encourage his men, Shaw is killed. Tripp lifts the flag rallying the soldiers to continue the charge.

He is shot but holds up the flag until he dies. Forbes takes charge, and the soldiers are able to break through the fort’s outer defenses. However, Charlie Morse is killed and Thomas is wounded. Closing text reveals Fort Wagner was never taken by the Union Army.

However, the courage demonstrated by the 54th resulted in the Union accepting thousands of black men for combat, and President Abraham Lincoln credited them with helping to turn the tide of the war. Exterior filming took place primarily in Massachusetts and Georgia. Opening passages, meant to portray the Battle of Antietam, show volunteer military reenactors filmed at a major engagement at the Gettysburg battlefield. While the film shows Shaw volunteering his unit immediately after hearing General Strong describe Fort Wagner’s defenses, history records that the regimental commanders had conferred among themselves before going back to Strong and telling him that the 54th was to make the charge. Another inaccuracy is in showing the 54th is attacking the fort from north to south with the ocean on their left.

Glory was the first major motion picture to tell the story of Black soldiers fighting for their freedom from slavery during the Civil War. The 1965 James Stewart film Shenandoah also depicted Black soldiers fighting for the Union, but the script suggested the Federal army at that time was integrated. Glory’s original motion picture soundtrack was released by Virgin Records on January 11, 1990. The score for the film was orchestrated by James Horner in association with the Boys Choir of Harlem.

A nonfiction study of the regiment first appeared in 1965 and was republished in paperback in January 1990 by St. Martin’s Press under the title One Gallant Rush: Robert Gould Shaw and His Brave Black Regiment. The book expands on how the 54th Massachusetts developed as battle-ready soldiers. Film critic Vincent Canby’s review in The New York Times stated, ” gives his most mature and controlled performance to date. Watching “Glory,” I had one reccuring problem.