Monday, August 06, 2007

Amazing Grace...

It was not until about a month ago that I learned the provenance of the hymn; the story of the slave-ship captain who renounced that trade to become a reclusive Christian monk. That would be a tale of some fascination in itself.

The subject comes up through the film of the same name, which wife and I went see yesterday afternoon.

The connection comes from the captain who is an important part in the development of the character of Wilbur Wilberforce and the progress of the anti-slavery movement in Britain.

How historically accurate is the film? From my knowledge of the time (relatively limited) I would say that the major players are there, and that they are well portrayed by the various actors. Be sure that Cumberpatch in his role as Pitt the Younger presents a compelling portrayal of the young Turk in his prime and his death. Grffudd as Wilberforce has a large part to fill; which he does with honesty but no great distinction.

The tale of the shipboard party that was diverted (intentionally) alongside the slaver that was in dock was a story that I knew. Such a shame that the ship concerned seemed to move magically among the tightly packed docks until a sternward sequence that showed - quite clearly - the propellor wash under the rudder. The version as I heard it had the ship being towed around (as was the practice of the times) by two gigs. Again, as I heard the story, those two (oar-powered) boats were manned by men landed from the slave-ship.

I enjoyed the film. It is a great story of the power of politics. It is one of the great stories of the victory of humanity over subjugation and exploitation.

Very recommended...

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