Author: Chris Soucy
My first direct experience with films made in Savannah was the movie Glory. I was in high
school in Hinesville, Georgia when this movie was being filmed. There was a genuine buzz all the way in Hinesville about this movie. And honestly, it was well deserved. Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Ferris Bueller himself Mathew Broderick were starring in this Civil War drama. But the true focus of my giddiness was Cary Elwes, star of my all time favorite movie Princess Bride.
Me and my friend Dave decided it was worth the 45 minute drive to get a glimpse of this movie being made. We set out on a sunny day for River street. This was before the internet and therefore information was often times hard won and wildly inaccurate. Luckily, River street was ground zero for filming that day. To this day I marvel at the transformation that the production company pulled off. They built an entire row of buildings on the river side of River street making it a counterfeit Boston street circa 1860s.
We stood on one of the ramps leading to River street and watched a parade of Union soldiers walk back and forth. It was exhilarating. Never having seen a movie from behind the scenes we were happy to just sit and watch the same thing happen over and over again. And then Cary Elwes came trotting up on a horse and elicited cheers from the crowd. I may have screamed a little too loudly.
The overall thrill of being there was revisited upon us when we went to the movie theater to watch this movie. For those of you who have not seen it, it is amazing. Truly a wonderful movie full of wonderful performances. In fact, in this movie I discovered the phrase I would use to describe truly amazing acting. “Single tear acting.” Single tear acting is when a camera is focused on the face of an actor and a single tear swells up in the eye of the actor and rolls down their cheek. Denzel Washington manages to utilize the single tear to spectacular effect. So when watching a movie look for those “Single tear acting” moments.
Glory is definitely one of those films that draws from history more than invents it. The actual events surrounding the rise and fall of the 54th regiment was handled with surprising accuracy, although many of the characters that we followed were, in fact, fictional. Broderick’s character Colonel Shaw was very real, and many of the events form the movie were pulled from his own letters. Even certain lines were quoted from his personal account.
Ultimately, Glory is a film to me that strikes home. Mainly because it I got to witness some of it being shot in my hometown. But even if it weren’t, I believe i would admire this film thoroughly. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. If you have, watch it again.