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They Won't Forget (1937)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery  |  9 October 1937 (USA)
7.4
Your rating:
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 923 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 9 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:
...
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

Director Fritz Lang was initially offered the project but passed on it, not wanting to be typecast as "an expert on lynching" (he had previously directed Fury (1936), which also involved a lynch mob). See more »

Quotes

Fred: What'll it all be be, ladies?
Imogene Mayfield: Dope and cherry, Fred.
Fred: [to Mary] How about you, half-pint?
Mary Clay: Make mine a chocolate malt and drop an egg in it as fresh as you are.
Fred: The hens don't lay 'em that good.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Sex, Censorship and the Silver Screen: Censored (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle Hymn of the Republic
(ca 1856) (uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
Played when Lincoln's statue is shown
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unrelenting
13 August 2007 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

"They Won't Forget" and neither will you if you've seen this chilling depression-era drama based on an actual murder case. Some of the scenes are so real, they're scary. One look at gimlet-eyed Trevor Bardette with a voice from the grave is like seeing death incarnate and enough to freeze a platoon of marines in their tracks. Then there's hapless Clinton Rosemon, his pleas for mercy so achingly real, they echo across generations of tormented black souls. Also not to be overlooked is the bereaved Gloria Dickson. Her righteous anger at movie's end is so heart-felt, I expect it probably was. Together with the wily District Attorney Claude Rains, there's an uncommon authority to this searing drama of justice gone wrong.

There's also an uncommon richness of detail. The script, for all its sprawl, remains tight and unrelenting, a genuine testament to writers Rossen and Kandel. Then too, producer Le Roy pulled out all the stops and the results show it. No one acts without apparent reason. Everyone has understandable motivations for doing what they do. That's why the upshot is so tragic. It's as though there's an on-rushing train nobody can stop because the momentum is carried by an infernal logic greater than the demands of justice. Despite appearances, it's not an anti-lynching film, though it is that. Rather, it's a down and dirty look at the cynical roots of injustice. From lowly pool hall to lofty city council, no one wants to convict an innocent man, but then no one much cares either. This movie stands as a fine example of why Warner Bros. was the studio of record during the stressed-out 1930's. Anyway, for guys who don't like the gloomy theme, there's always the chance to catch Lana Turner as she juggles two balloons while sashaying up the sidewalk in the film's most famous scene.

All in all-- a classic of 30's social realism, with Hollywood at its unapologetic best.


8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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