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The story takes place in 1940. On the eve of America's entry in World War II, a colonel retired to his small Southern town, and discovers that there is a plan afoot to tear down Confederate Monument Square. He begins a campaign to rally the townspeople to save the square. Written by
Charles Coburn took a bit from his Academy Award winning performance in The More The Merrier and a bit from his imperious father in Vivacious Lady to create the unfazed Colonel Effingham in Colonel Effingham's Raid. It's one of the few films where this distinguished character actor is given the lead role and he makes the most of it.
Through sheer stubbornness and will power Coburn is given a column on the local newspaper where his nephew William Eythe and Joan Bennett are also employed. It's supposed to be a column about the impending war news for this film set in 1940, but Coburn sees it as a great opportunity to rouse public opinion in that sleepy Georgia town against the ruling clique which has been in power so long they just treat the city money and assets like their own.
The city fathers are a group taken right out of a Preston Sturges classic and I wouldn't be surprised if this film might have been something offered to him. Thurston Hall makes a genially corrupt mayor, this is one of his best efforts.
Catch this film the next time TCM runs it, it's a real unknown gem.
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