James Garner April 7, 1928 - July 19, 2014

James Garner April 7, 1928 - July 19, 2014
James Garner April 7, 1928 - July 19, 2014 He wanted to be remembered with a smile.

The Garner Files

The Garner Files
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Friday, May 27, 2011

TV Weekend; James Garner as a Curmudgeon Pulled Back Into Life

This is one of my very favorite of Jim's films. I totally agree with John O'Connor in his description of Jim as an actor, and about this excellent Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation. It's no accident that Jim picked up a Golden Globe for this.

New York Times Articles

The DVD cover of Decoration Day (TV film), dir...Image via Wikipedia

Published: November 30, 1990

James Garner is an old-fashioned actor. Like Gary Cooper and James Stewart, he conveys the impression that he is always playing himself with uncommonly easy grace. As it happens, Mr. Garner has done most of his best work in television. In recent years, the mature actor has excelled in such "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentations as "Promise" and "My Name Is Bill W."

Now, on Sunday at 9 P.M. on NBC , he's back in still another "Hallmark" production, "Decoration Day," and, by golly, he's doing it again, imbuing what could have been a fairly pedestrian role with remarkable weight and insight.

On paper, there's not all that much to "Decoration Day," adapted by Robert W. Lenski from a novella by John William Corrington. Albert Sidney Finch, a retired Georgia judge, decides to help a boyhood friend named Gaspar (Gee) Penniwell, a black World War II veteran from whom Finch has been estranged for 30 years. Gee is refusing to accept a Medal of Honor that the Government has finally decided he deserves; he feels that the Government has waited too long. Mr. Garner as the judge and Bill Cobbs as Gee are just splendid.
Finch is something of a curmudgeon, increasingly reclusive since the death of his wife and content to sit in a rowboat fishing all day on the lake within sight of his home. He and his housekeeper, Rowena (Ruby Dee), have been together for 50 years and can spar openly like old friends. Becoming involved with Gee's case brings Finch out into the world again, pulling him reluctantly into the lives of young Billy Wendell, the son of another old friend (Norm Skaggs); Billy's wife, Loreen (Jo Anderson), and his supposed lover, Terry Novis (Judith Ivey). There is also Michael Waring (Larry Fishburne), a black lawyer from Washington, who suspects racist motives behind Finch's efforts to help Gee refuse the medal.Directed with all deliberate thoughtfulness by Robert Markowitz, "Decoration Day" proceeds without fireworks, taking its time and carefully revealing its gentle insights into memory, friendship, race relations and the simple fact that time passes and things change. Surrounded by an impeccable supporting cast, Mr. Garner brings to television still another uncommonly fine performance.

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