Recently, the filmmakers responsible for The Hurricane have been attacked for changing elements of the true story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter for the sake of drama, or even worse, to fit their agenda. Presumably, the disastrous effect this will have on the movie-going public is paramount. They may be inclined to wholeheartedly accept literary fabrication as literal fact, to believe histrionics as history.
So f’ing what.
I don’t know that Socrates really drank the hemlock, that Jesus Christ ever actually walked on water, or that Katherine the Great truly met an untimely death under a horse. Nor do I care.
The entire canon of theater and literature is comprised mostly on historical fictions, based on true stories, or actual events, or, more often than not, legends and mythologies of those actual events. Fiction accepted as fact. The Bard himself penned thirteen histories and all of them lies. Titus Andronicus may not have even existed.
The last hundred years of film, likewise, abounds with biopics. But here’s a little clue for you all, The Pride of the Yankees is about ninety percent fancy, Lawrence of Arabia is pure cow crap, and Larry Flynt isn’t simply a lovable free speech advocate, he’s also a fat scumbag who may have molested his daughter.
Instead of attacking The Hurricane for being what it isn’t, perhaps it should be reviewed for what it is.
Inventing the Cabots
William Shakespeare’s pants are on fire and he’s sitting on a telephone wire. Not only did the Bard blatantly rip-off Plutarch, he also completely altered the stories to fit his own devious agenda. Sound familiar? The filmmakers behind The Hurricane were obviously inspired by Willy’s deceptive ways. A side-by-side comparison of the film and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar verifies our sneaking suspicions.
Julius Caesar is based on Plutarch’s Lives and C. Suetonius Tranquillus’ Vita Divi Luli.
The Hurricane is based on Rubin Carter’s The Sixteenth Round and Lazarus and The Hurricane by Sam Chaiton and Terry Swinton.
Julius Caesar’s life and career prior to his ascension to dictator is given only scant treatment that insufficiently provides background on the true character of the man.
Rubin Carter’s life and career prior to his arrest is given only scant treatment that insufficiently provides background on the true character of the man.
The three senators in the play are a composite of senators and aristocrats who conspired against Caesar, of which there were at least 60. You can’t fit 60 people onstage at The Globe.
The lead detective in the case is a composite of investigators and prosecutors who conspired against Rubin Carter, of which there were dozens. Who wants to keep track of that?
The role of Marc Antony in avenging Caesar’s assassination is vastly exaggerated for dramatic effect while the role of friends, Romans and countrymen is vastly underplayed. For dramatic effect.
The role of The Canadians in avenging Carter’s incarceration is vastly exaggerated for dramatic effect while the role of friends, family, and the legal team is vastly underplayed. For dramatic effect.
Artemidorus, a significant figure in the events surrounding Caesar’s death, was given short shrift in the play.
John Artis, a significant figure in the real life events surrounding Carter’s case, was given short shrift in the movie.
Chances are Caesar never said, “Et tu, Brute! Then fall, Caesar.”
Chances are Carter never said, “Hate put me into prison, love gonna bust me out.”