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Storm Warning (1951)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 779 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 13 critic

Marsha Mitchell, a traveling dress model, stops in a southern town to see her sister who has married a Ku Klux Klansman. Marsha sees the KKK commit a murder and helps District Attorney Burt Rainey in bringing the criminals to justice.

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Title: Storm Warning (1951)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Marsha Mitchell
...
Burt Rainey
...
Lucy Rice
Steve Cochran ...
Hank Rice
Hugh Sanders ...
Charlie Barr
Lloyd Gough ...
Cliff Rummel
Raymond Greenleaf ...
Faulkner
...
George Athens
Paul E. Burns ...
Frank Hauser, Baggage Man
Walter Baldwin ...
Coroner Bledsoe
Lynn Whitney ...
Cora Athens
Stuart Randall ...
Walt Walters
Sean McClory ...
Shore
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Storyline

En route to a job, New York based model Marsha Mitchell decides to stop for less than 24 hours in the southern American town of Rock Point to visit her sister, Lucy Rice, who she has not seen in two years, and meet Lucy's husband, Hank Rice, for the first time. Upon arriving in Rock Point, Marsha witnesses a Ku Klux Klan slaying of who she would later learn is Walter Adams, an out of town reporter who was going to write an exposé on the Klan. Marsha even saw two of the men's faces after they removed their hoods, but they didn't see Marsha. Upon later arriving at Lucy's house, Marsha is shocked to see that Hank was one of the Klansmen committing the murder, he being a Klansman of which Lucy is unaware. Marsha decides to confront Hank and Lucy about what she saw. Meanwhile, county prosecutor Burt Rainey knows that the Klan committed the murder, everyone in town is aware that the Klan committed the murder, but Rainey knows that no one will come forward to implicate the Klan for what they... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE MOTION PICTURE THAT DARES TO RIP THE MASK OFF THE KU KLUX KLAN! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 February 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Storm Center  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Working title was "Storm Center." Coincidentally that title was used for a Bette Davis movie six years later at Columbia. See more »

Goofs

A character is murdered by the KKK after 10pm one evening. An autopsy is performed, witnesses interviewed and a coroner's inquest is held - all by the following afternoon, hardly twelve hours after crime was committed. See more »

Quotes

Burt Rainey: Hear that yellin' out there? That's the Klan! They just found out that law and order can't touch them. You did that when you let them off! They're runnin' wild! They're gonna rip up the old laws and make new ones! They're gonna do every rotten thing they can think of doing!
See more »

Soundtracks

Keep Cool, Fool
(uncredited)
Music by James P. Johnson and Josef Myrow
Played at the recreation center after the verdict
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Rogers, Day, Reagan, all tops in first-rate anti-Klan picture
18 January 2005 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Warner Brothers got back to its muckraking roots in this somber drama about an "outsider" who witnesses a Klan murder in a small town and is persuaded to keep quiet about it because her sister's scummy husband is involved in it. One of the aspects of this film that I appreciated was that the Klansmen aren't pawned off as buffoonish, mouth-breathing cretins as they often are in films like this (although Steve Cochran as Doris Day's white-trash husband comes close), which tends to trivialize them and make them seem a bit less dangerous than they really are. The film shows the people who run the Klan to be fairly prominent local citizens--which is, unfortunately, often the case in real life with organizations like the Klan--which actually makes them far more dangerous than if they were just a semi-literate bunch of backwoods hillbillies. Doris Day gives a bravura performance in her first dramatic role; she tends to just skirt the edge of "going over the top" on a few occasions, but director Stuart Heisler skillfully brings her, and the rest of the picture, under control, and it does have the gritty, noir-ish look reminiscent of the great Warners films of the '30s and '40s. Ginger Rogers is very good as Day's visiting sister who realizes the type of dilemma her sibling is caught in, and Ronald Reagan turns in one of his best performances as the local District Attorney who knows that Rogers saw the murder and needs her to testify in order to bring down the local Klan organization, which he is determined to do.

At a time when the government was far more interested in ferreting out "Communists"--who it was convinced were the driving forces behind the burgeoning civil rights movement--than it was in eliminating far more dangerous menaces like the Klan, it took guts for Warners to come out with a film like this. The movie actually was condemned as "Communist propaganda" by various right-wing groups, a charge Warners was used to by this time, and the studio courageously stood behind the film.

Day, Rogers, Reagan, even Steve Cochran are at the top of their form here. A previous poster has called this a "forgotten gem", and he hit the nail right on the head. This is a first-rate film that isn't as well known as it should be, and is most definitely worth a look.


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