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A Lion Is in the Streets (1953)

 -  Drama  -  23 September 1953 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 353 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 4 critic

A charismatic peddler from the bayous finds his true calling in politics. Is he a demagogue in the making?

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Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: A Lion Is in the Streets (1953)

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

THE ROARING STORY OF A GIVE-AND-TAKE GUY! He took plenty from the chiselers...the crooks...and the tin-horns...and gave 'em nothing in return!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 September 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Fera  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 ...
[...]
See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Sung with substitute lyrics by the courtroom spectators and later by the mob
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Somehow it doesn't satisfy.
18 September 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I am a massive fan of James Cagney as an actor. I've loved some of the films he starred in, tolerated more. This one falls into the second camp. It is by no means a bad or unworthy film, but it really fails to compel.

Cagney is of course, irreproachable and effortlessly walks away with the film, but he just isn't quite as compelling a figure here as in "White Heat", "Angels with Dirty Faces" or that splendid musical, "Yankee Doodle Dandy". Perhaps it is because the character is really more predictable than most of his characters; based on the Huey Long template. There was not the sense that I was rooting for his character in the same odd way that I usually do when he is essaying a villainous part.

The film is visually quite opulent, but hardly overpoweringly. Perhaps monochrome would have better suited the film's fairly straight forward moral message. The characters, save Cagney's demagogue, are far from that interesting, and play little part, other than be part of the rural "mob" that Cagney is inciting, or part of the slick, gangster-swayed metropolitan set, who replenish Cagney's corruption.

This film just isn't compelling enough; it has a lack of interesting incident, character or dialogue, and while it is morally in a worthy cause (in the era of McCarthy) it is too small a fry in the largely incendiary career of Cagney.

Rating:- ***/*****


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