St Malcolm Martyr

Michael Wood

  • Malcolm X directed by Spike Lee
    May 1993
  • By Any Means Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of ‘Malcolm X’ by Spike Lee and Ralph Wiley
    Vintage, 314 pp, £7.99, February 1993, ISBN 0 09 928531 2
  • Malcolm X: The Great Photographs compiled by Thulani Davis and Howard Chapnick
    Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 168 pp, £14.99, March 1993, ISBN 1 55670 317 1

The reviews and the hype hadn’t prepared me for Malcolm X at all. I expected it to be dull and worthy, a straight and long-winded retelling of a famous life. I found it lively, pretty dramatic, not all that much too long. It is a glossy parable of the sinner who came to virtue, found fame and power, was threatened and killed: the work, death and glorification of St Malcolm Martyr. I also found the film troubling because of its very glossiness, and troubling in ways I didn’t at first understand.

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