YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

September 01, 2000|LARRY STEWART

What: "SportsCentury: Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter"

Where: ESPN Classic, tonight, 5 and 9

You may have seen the movie "Hurricane," but if you want to know the real story of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, don't miss this excellent one-hour documentary. It tells the story of Carter, imprisoned for 19 years (1966 to '85) for a triple murder he didn't commit, as well as television can. If you don't get ESPN Classic, complain to your cable company.

The purpose of the documentary is not to discredit the movie that stars Denzel Washington, but rather to tell the story accurately through dozens of interviews, including some with Carter. He speaks not in sentences or paragraphs but in highly polished sermons delivered with the rhythmic cadences of a gospel preacher. Although he has sight in only one eye, his gaze is piercing.

John Artis, who was 19 in 1966, 10 years younger than Carter, was with Carter on the night of the murders in Patterson, N.J., and was also falsely accused and imprisoned. Artis, now a youth counselor in Virginia, is also interviewed at length. Thom Kidrin, a friend of Carter, says the movie presents "a softer Rubin who is glorified to the extent that it doesn't show the full nature of the human being."

Says Carter, "I was as mean as a rattlesnake."

In the end, host Chris Fowler concludes that Carter "was transformed from a self-described rattlesnake to an articulate advocate for the wrongly accused."

Carter says he had to get rid of the hate. H. Lee Sarokin, the judge who freed Carter, says if Carter committed the murders "he is a better actor than Denzel Washington."

Los Angeles Times Articles