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The Butler

David Gwilliam

Well-Known Member
I watched "The Butler" on DVD. It is supposed to be a true story based on the life of Eugene Allen although in the movie he is called Cecil Gaines. Eugene Allen was a black man who was butler at The White House from the time of Eisenhower (1950s) to Reagan (1990s). It begins with the shocking cold-blooded murder of Gaines father by a white man who had just raped Gaines mother. Perhaps the most important theme of then movie is the clash between Gaines work at the White House and his son who becomes a Black Panther (one of the most violent civil rights groups). Another emotive part is the death of Gaines younger son in Vietnam. The acting is often superb especially by Forrest Whitacker as Gaines.

The movie was at times shocking and moving. So I decided to look it up[ in Wikipedia. The murder of the father and rape of the mother that sets the scene for the movie are total invention. Gaines had one son not two. The son was not involved in the civil rights struggle and did not go to Vietnam - total invention again.

No doubt Hollywood will point out that it changed Eugene Allen's name and used dramatic licence. However, when a movie sells itself on being based on truth and includes actors playing real characters (Dr King and several Presidents) it is pure fiction and not dramatic licence.

Motown Fox

Well-Known Member
I'm looking forward to watching this film. I knew from a review of the film just before cinema release what you said about the story telling was a little bit of invention by the Film Writing team. But I imagine they did it to bring out two of the most crucial elements that occurred whilst he was butler to the fore. Civil Rights and Black Panther and the Vietnam War were key moments in time. Not just in thr States but also it had effects on the rest of the World too.

Also looking forward to hearing how the music of those times changes over the period whilst he was in service. Particularly music of black origin which changed from being regarded as Devil Music to the greatest proportional music of the charts. The track by
Gladys Knight is also worth a listen. She's not getting any younger but she can still turn out a cracking vocal.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
why not open another rate and lecture thread?

(It was me as the major lecturer in the end) trying to practice my creative writing for timeout reviews. Never happened as my creative writing wasn't deemed creative enough. Maybe i'll try again some day.
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