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They Won't Forget (1937)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 851 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 8 critic

A politically ambitious district attorney, unscrupulous tabloid journalists, and regional prejudice combine to charge a teacher with the murder of his student.

Director:

(uncredited)

Writers:

(novel), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Andy Griffin
Gloria Dickson ...
Edward Norris ...
Robert Hale
...
Gleason
Allyn Joslyn ...
Bill Brock
...
Linda Perry ...
Imogene Mayfield
...
Cy Kendall ...
Detective Laneart
Clinton Rosemond ...
Tump Redwine
E. Alyn Warren ...
Carlisle P. Buxton
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Mrs. Hale (as Elizabeth Risdon)
Clifford Soubier ...
Jim Timberlake
Granville Bates ...
Detective Pindar
Ann Shoemaker ...
Mrs. Mountford
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Storyline

A southern town is rocked by scandal when teenager Mary Clay is murdered on Confederate Decoration Day. Andrew Griffin, a small-time lawyer with political ambitions, sees the crime as his ticket to the Senate if he can find the right victim to finger for the crime. He sets out to convict Robert Hale, a transplanted northerner who was Mary's teacher at the business school where she was killed. Despite the fact that all the evidence against Hale is circumstantial, Griffin works with a ruthless reporter to create a media frenzy of prejudice and hate against the teacher. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 October 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Death in the Deep South  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First speaking role of 16-year-old Lana Turner. See more »

Quotes

Confederate Veteran: [to his fellow Confederate veterans] On your feet now. Go on and look sharp. The whole town's watching. This is the one day out of the year that belongs to us.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Murder of Mary Phagan (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

(I Wish I Was in) Dixie's Land
(1860) (uncredited)
Music by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Played during the opening credits
Played by the band at the Memorial Day parade
Whistled by Allyn Joslyn
Played as background music often
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Masterly Crime Drama
11 February 2002 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A hideous crime rocks a Deep South community and those who exploited it know THEY WON'T FORGET the part they played in the shame & violence that ensued.

Of all the hard-hitting dramas produced by Warner Brothers Studio in the 1930's, this was one of the most powerful. Absolutely no holds are barred in showing the aftermath of the murder of a pretty college girl and how events took on a life of their own - crushing the innocent lives who got in the way of the town's thirst for revenge. The film starts whimsically with six ancient Confederate veterans - among them Harry Davenport, Harry Beresford & Edward McWade - on a park bench, reminiscing upon the dim past & wondering if their contributions will be remembered. Poignantly, evil is about to reemerge and the old men will soon disappear, the dead ashes of the past engulfed by the passionate flames of the present. An urgent plea against sectarian hatred & mindless violence, the film sweeps the viewer along to its ultimate shattering climax.

Claude Rains gives a knock-out performance as the local politician who sees the murder as a chance to sweep him into the State Senate. Using his considerable vocal talent - even with his somewhat bizarre idea of a Southern accent - Rains steamrollers over nearly everyone else in the cast, deftly showing his character's utter fixation on prosecuting the case.

Kudos should also be extended to Edward Norris as the Northern teacher accused of the murder; Lana Turner as the victim; Elisha Cook Jr. as her strangely nervous boyfriend; and especially Clinton Rosemond as the terrified black janitor who discovers the crime.

Although Warners is at pains at the outset to deny any connection the story might have with an actual occurrence, the film is roughly based on the notorious 1913 murder of Atlanta factory worker Mary Phagan.


14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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