Timely or Tacky? You have probably marked your calendar already, but Jan. 20 is the day Barack Obama will be inaugurated president. It's also the day Warner Home Video will release the miniseries "George Wallace" on DVD. ...
The film stars Gary Sinise as the race-baiting, flamboyant politician Wallace; the cast also includes Mare Winningham as Wallace's first wife, Lurleen, and Angelina Jolie as his second wife, Cornelia. The miniseries was controversial, especially for some dramatic embroidery, but Sinise -- who has also played Harry Truman -- is very good.
Still, is this the appropriate day to release this production? In a statement, Warner Home Video VP Rosemary Markson said the DVD ‘‘serves as a reminder of the tremendous strides the United States has made since Wallace's day.’’
But I can't shake the feeling that this is just a way of reopening old wounds for the sake of a marketing tie-in. Wallace was a thoroughly divisive figure in U.S. politics and culture. And those "tremendous strides" have not been made everywhere. Wallace's Alabama had a lower percentage of white votes for Obama than any other state -- a mere 10 percent, according to published reports.