Normally, on Mondays I post about classic movies, sharing about the films, actors and actresses that I dearly love. However, I am going to add a new feature to my movie posting, and start sharing about some of the finds I come across on Netflix. One quote I remember about Netflix is that it is where you go to stream old TV re-runs and crappy movies.
That has not been my experience, however. I do like to watch old movies, and regrettably, Netflix has entirely too few for me. However, in looking about for films to watch, I often come across a movie I’ve never heard of, and when I watch it, I am blown away. It could be that the film is just a vanity piece of an actor or director. It might be that the film didn’t attract an audience during its initial release. Who knows? But what I do know is that I am discovering a hidden gem and I truly enjoy, and feel I’ve got to share. So I’m staring an infrequent ‘feature’, Netflix Gold, to tell folks about something that I am over the moon about. And today, that is the Ossie David film, Proud.
Proud is a small film about the USS Mason, the first ship in WWII to have an African-American crew. Filmed in 2004, there are no big names, but it is a lovingly crafted tribute to the sailors of the Mason. It tells the experience of three seamen who cross the Navy’s barrier of prejudice, joining the first crew of black sailors that were able to serve as anything but stewards and busboys.
There are many wonderful scenes, but some that I really loved were the shots of the crew quarters. I was in the Navy in the late 60s, during the Viet Nam war. I served on the USS Kennebec, which had the distinction of being the oldest ship in the fleet, when it was decommissioned. The Kennebec was actually built as a merchant ship in 1938, and was pressed into Naval service by the war, and was actually older than the Mason. Seeing the quarters on the Mason reminded me of life on the Kennebec, as we had the same rack set-up shown in the film.
Proud is a personal labor of love for Davis, and his pride in the accomplishments of the Mason crew comes through in every frame. From battling the institutional prejudice of the Navy to battling German submarines and Atlantic weather, the story of the Mason is every bit inspiring as the story of the Tuskeegee Airmen.
If you have Netflix, put this in your queue. And when you finish watching the film, let the credits roll. The music during the credits is great.