The Great White Hope

LORELAI: You are the great white hope of the Gilmore clan. You are their angel sent from up above. You are the daughter they didn’t have.

The Great White Hope is a 1970 biographical drama film, directed by Martin Ritt and based on the 1967 stage play by Howard Sackler, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play.

Set between 1910 and 1915, the story is about a boxer named Jack Jefferson (James Earl Jones), based on the real life boxer Jack Johnson. Because of his string of victories in the ring, the press announces the search for “the great white hope” – a white boxer who can defeat him. To complicate matters, Jack falls in love with a beautiful white woman named Eleanor (Jane Alexander), and their relationship, illegal at the time, leads to disaster.

The Great White Hope was well received by both audiences and critics at the time, who praised the lead actors, but its reputation has declined over the years.

Lorelai believes her parents, as she does, sees Rory as a new, improved Lorelai, and as the “great white hope” who will do better than Lorelai has done. She actually tries to see her father’s point of view, by telling Rory that Richard’s appalling behaviour at dinner was brought on by his memories of Lorelai as a teenager, and terrible fear that Rory will also get pregnant and throw her life away.

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