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A Lion Is in the Streets (1953)

 -  Drama  -  23 September 1953 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 346 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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(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

Plot Keywords:

bayou | peddler | flamingo | politics | cotton | See more »

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
Edit

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

Cagney's Southern accent (which frankly isn't very good) disappears for the most part after the first half-hour, recurring only occasionally thereafter in scenes that were obviously shot out of sequence. See more »

Quotes

Hank Martin: Wheels within wheels within wheels.
See more »

Soundtracks

Oh, Dem Golden Slippers
Written by James Allen Bland
Played when Hank is dancing with the children
See more »

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User Reviews

Great Cast but Bad Screenplay
23 August 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

A Lion is in the Streets (1953)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Raoul Walsh directs this incredibly uneven and at times poorly written tale of a poor peddler (James Cagney) who finds his calling in politics. After the death of his friend, the man begins to slowly rise up and lead the poor people against the evil rich but this game contains one twist after another. A LION IS IN THE STREETS features a terrific cast, some great cinematography and at times a compelling story but there are just way too many beyond stupid moments that keep this film from being a complete success. I must admit that I got caught up in the story and it made for a mildly entertaining film but at the same time there were moments where I was wanting to scream at the television. There's no doubt in my mind that this was an incredibly poor screenplay that needed a major re-write. There's no doubt that those involved wanted to get their message across but they should have done it with better, more realistic writing. I won't spoil anything but there's a court scene and the sequence at the end, which should have been terrific but they're just so far fetched that the message involved in them are just lost. Another problem is that stuff will come up in the story and never get explained or even commented on again. There's an entire subplot with Cagney's swamp girl lover that comes and goes. Cagney's wife gets pregnant but this disappears from the screenplay only to then pop back up out of no where. There are some terrific performances here including Barbara Hale as the wife, Anne Francis as the swamp girl and we've also got strong work from Lon Chaney, Warner Anderson, John McIntire, Jeanne Cagney, Onslow Stevens and Cagney's old buddy from Warner, Frank McHugh. As far as Cagney goes, there's no question that he's got some passion and fire going on. The performance is incredibly energetic, although the accent comes and goes at times. A LION IS IN THE STREETS isn't a complete success but the cast alone makes it worth sitting through.


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