Violence Erupts at the Algiers Hotel in the First ‘Detroit’ TV Spot
Every major historical movie comes with a choice. Do you go seek the true story behind the film’s events in an attempt to be well-read prior to its release? Or do you embrace your ignorance — albeit temporarily — in order to ensure the sanctity of the cinematic experience? If you prefer the former, it isn’t difficult to find in-depth literature about Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit; Wayne State University Press recently re-released The Detroit Riot of 1967, a first-hand account by the former aide to the Detroit police commissioner who now serves as the Dean of Public Affairs at the University of Michigan. In many ways, the film seems to be setting a historical precedent for the abuse of power stories we see in every city across America.
Then again, if you have only a passing familiarity with how events transpired, you may want to enjoy the visceral storytelling Bigelow’s movie before seeking out a grounded account of the riots. The new TV spot for Detroit offers a close look at what had happened at the Algiers Hotel during the riots, where a handful of police officers where brought up on criminal charges for the unexplainable death of several of the hotel’s black tenants.
One book you won’t be able to seek out is perhaps the film’s most direct inspiration, The Algiers Hotel Incident. In 1968, author John Hersey published a novel detailing the Algier Hotel events and the surrounding riots from the perspective of people who were actually there. According to the Detroit Free Press, the producers of Detroit had reached out to Hersey’s estate about obtaining the rights, but were rejected by his daughter Brook, who claims that Hersey gave his interviewees a promise that he would not use their statements as the basis for a feature film. As such, much of Detroit is based on original research done on behalf of the producers.
Here’s the early synopsis available for Detroit:
From the Academy Award®-winning director of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Detroit tells the gripping story of one of the darkest moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summer of ‘67.