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White Bondage is a very good little movie from the Depression era concerning an agent from the agriculture department who comes to the aid of tenant farmers in the Deep South. It's surprisingly well acted by a cast of relative unknowns, and directed by Nick Grinde, not the first name that comes to one's mind when thinking of great film-makers. He does a fine job with this movie, though, which, contrary to the belief of many in our time shows that government can be a force for good, and actually help poor people rather than merely take their tax dollars in order to support fat-cat Washington bureaucrats.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS*** Things have been getting a bit out of hand in cotton
country with the greedy an unscrupulous "Cotton King" Trent Talcott,
Joseph King, taking advantage of the local sharecroppers in using
underhanded tactics in undercutting the prices, by under weighing, of
their annual cotton crop. This has undercover newspaper reporter Gordon
Oliver, David Graydon, try to expose Talcott and have him forced to pay
the sharecroppers all the money that he stole from them. Things don't
at first go so easy for Oliver with the local cotton pickers feeling
that he in fact is working for Talcott and want no part of him or what
he has, in legal help, to offer them.
It's when Oliver strikes up a relationship with local girl Besty Ann Craig, Jean Muir, in helping her fiancée Carl Sanders, Howard Phillips, in getting his true worth of what he toiled and grew in his cotton field that he starts to make a number of in rows in his undercover reporting. This when Oliver finds a storehouse full of cotton that Talcott stole from the local cotton pickers and was about to sell on the open market for as much as three times that he was willing to pay them for it.
****SPOILERS**** Framed by Talcott for almost killing Besty Ann who in fact was knocked out by Talcott's sister Sarah, Virginia Brissac, when she discovered the second set of books he used to gyp the cotton pickers out of their hard earned cash a lynch mob is rustled up by Sanders, that numbered in the hundreds, to string the innocent Gordon Oliver up. It was just in the nick of time that a recovered Besty came to Oliver's rescue and not only prevented his hanging but exposed all the garbage that Talcott was pulling on cotton pickers over the years. That had him as well as his sister Sarah and his henchmen run for the hills from preventing themselves from being lynched by the mad as hell and outraged cotton pickers. In the end not only was Talcott forced by the courts, in order to prevent him serving prison time, to pay back all those he cheated that caused him to not only go bankrupt but go into another business as a cotton picker himself like those he used to take advantage of.
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