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A Lion Is in the Streets (1953)

Approved | | Drama | 23 September 1953 (USA)
A charismatic peddler from the bayous finds his true calling in politics. Is he a demagogue in the making?



(screenplay), (novel)

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Complete credited cast:
Hank Martin
Verity Wade
Flamingo McManamee
Jules Bolduc
Jeb Brown
Jennie Brown
Spurge McManamee (as Lon Chaney)
Frank Rector
Robert L. Castleberry IV
Guy Polli
James Millican ...
Samuel T. Beach
Mickey Simpson ...
Tim Peck, Blacksmith
Lula May McManamee
Singing Woman


Colorful bayou peddler Hank Martin marries pretty teacher Verity, who finds that the rural poor all love Hank. Gradually, she realizes that Hank's popularity is the fruit of his expert manipulation of everyone he knows. She's further taken aback when she meets sexy swamp girl Flamingo, who considered Hank hers and is murderously jealous. Now Hank starts crusading against a crooked cotton buyer, and swiftly rises toward political power. Is there no stopping him? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He was king of a double-cross empire ..and the gutter was his throne! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 September 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Fera  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was based on a 1945 novel which was a fictionalized account of assassinated Louisiana politician Huey Long by Adria Locke Langley. A film based on a similar roman a clef by Robert Penn Warren, "All the King's Men," won an Oscar as Best Picture in 1949. That b/w film shot on location with non-professional extras had a gritty realism that the studio-bound "A Lion Is in the Streets" did not have, and the later film suffered by comparison. See more »


When Hank walks back into Polli's living room after standing out in the rain, he momentarily loses his footing on the tile floor, but manages to recover. It happens a second time as he is leaving. This may not qualify as a true goof, as the slips are genuine and thus could be considered "real," but it's unusual that they did not dry him off and go for another take. See more »


Hank Martin: [Angrily] Castleberry, there's a disease called Pellegra. You ever hear how it's ommunicated?
Verity Wade: Hank, we were talkin' about the house...
Hank Martin: It's communicated by not gettin' enough to eat, and it's very common in counties where your cotton gins are.
[to Jules]
Hank Martin: Jules, I'm very sorry. I don't mean any offense to you, but my wife and I can't eat where a man what's been committin' pellegra.
Jules Bolduc: Well, I don't...
Robert L. Castleberry IV: I think I do. Would you mind explainin' your remark, sir?
Hank Martin: Not at all. I'm callin' you a thief... a ...
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Turkey in the Straw
Played when Hank and Verity are being carried to Jules' house
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User Reviews

American political corruption -- well acted & well-told

The knock on this movie is that it isn't All The King's Men -- no this is a different movie, and Barbara Hale's character is much feistier than Anne Seymour's. But, Cagney has the measure of his character and plays the role for everything it is worth. The supporting cast does a good job in an overlooked and insightful slice of our American heritage.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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