Considered one of the most important movies of 1984, this Norman Jewison award-winning film stars Howard E. Rollins, Jr., Adolph Caesar, David Alan Grier, Denzel Washington and Patti LaBelle, just to name a few of the stellar cast. It was nominated for three Academy Awards; Best Supporting Actor (Adolph Caesar); Best Picture; Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium and won three others.
A synopsis of the movie details the plot: “In the town of Tynin, Louisiana, a black Master Sergeant is found shot to death just outside the local Army Base. A military lawyer, also a black man, is sent from Washington to conduct an investigation. Facing an uncooperative chain of command and fearful black troops, Captain Davenport must battle with deceit and prejudice in order to find out exactly who really did kill Sergeant Waters.” Written by Anthony Hughes
In his autobiography, This Terrible Business Has Been Good to Me, Norman Jewison states “production began on Sept. 10, 1983 in Clarendon, Arkansas, a small community on the banks of the White River, then a few days in Little Rock, and nine weeks in Fort Chaffee [Fort Smith], a big World War II vintage army base where German prisoners of war had been housed.” Clarendon (top photo right) served as the fictitious town of Tynin because of its historic downtown. While in Little Rock, the “ballgame” scenes were filmed at historic Lamar Porter Field (top photo left and photo right), a Works Progress Administration project listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can still catch a game at the ball field.
Little Rock native Brooks Robinson, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and considered to be the best third baseman to ever play the game, began his legendary career playing baseball at Lamar Porter Field.
The Barbershop Museum at Fort Chaffee (above photo left) is where Elvis Presley received his Army haircut after being drafted.