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Marshall, Airmen and Baker the Subjects of Momentous Films

2 Dec, 2011 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Laurence Fishburne as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in HBO's one-man play, 'Thurgood.'

HBO Home Entertainment has three titles highlighting prominent African-American figures slated for release Jan. 17 (order date Dec. 13), in advance of Black History Month: Thurgood, The Tuskegee Airmen and The Josephine Baker Story.

Oscar nominee Laurence Fishburne portrays Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in Thurgood, a one-man show taped before a live audience at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater in Washington, D.C. The release arrives on the heels of the 45th anniversary of the civil rights pioneer’s appointment to the Supreme Court.

Marshall tried the historic case of Brown v. Board of Education, which declared unconstitutional racial segregation in public schools. The show traces Marshall’s childhood in Baltimore and college days at Howard University School of Law.

Rewinding to 1943, The Tuskegee Airmen (1995) chronicles the first squadron of African-American pilots allowed to fight for their country during World War II. The pilots, in essence, fought two wars: the war abroad and the race war in the United States. The film stars Fishburne, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Cuba Gooding Jr., Allen Payne, Courtney B. Vance and Mekhi Phifer.

Airmen debuts just days before the George Lucas-produced Red Tails, also based on the pilots’ story, hits theaters Jan. 20. The Blu-ray is packaged in a 32-page hardbound book.

Also making its Blu-ray Disc debut is The Josephine Baker Story (1991), starring Lynn Whitfield in the title role about the African-American performer who achieved fame and fortune through her provocative, semi-nude performances in Paris. Baker’s life was met with both love and rejection from her lovers and her country.

The made-for-TV movie also stars Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. It includes a commentary with Whitfield, writer Ron Hutchinson and associate producer Alisa Taylor.

Thurgood is listed at $26.98 on DVD and $34.98 on Blu-ray Disc, while The Tuskegee Airmen and The Josephine Baker Story both cost $14.98 on Blu-ray.

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