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The Phenix City Story (1955)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,339 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 28 critic

A crime-busting lawyer and his initially reluctant attorney father take on the forces that run gambling and prostitution in their small Southern town.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Dan Mainwaring)
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Title: The Phenix City Story (1955)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Albert L. Patterson
...
John Patterson
...
Ellie Rhodes
...
Rhett Tanner
Lenka Peterson ...
Mary Jo Patterson
Biff McGuire ...
Fred Gage
Truman Smith ...
Ed Gage
Jean Carson ...
Cassie
Kathy Marlowe ...
Mamie (as Katharine Marlowe)
John Larch ...
Clem Wilson
Allen Nourse ...
Jeb Bassett
James Edwards ...
Zeke Ward
...
Helen Ward
...
Hugh Bentley
George Mitchell ...
Hugh Britton
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Storyline

In this semidocumentary, an Alabama town is run by a crime syndicate that's grown fat on prostitution and crooked gambling, directed at soldiers from Fort Benning across the river. Lawyer John Patterson, back from the army, is triggered by what he sees to join the reformers with a plan: to run his father Albert for state attorney general. The syndicate responds with escalating violence: is no one safe? Credits preceded by a "newscast" containing spoilers. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Exposed in LIFE, LOOK and THE SATURDAY EVENING POST! Now the year's greatest screen sensation! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 August 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Phenix City történet: A terorr városa  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (without prologue)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film, John Patterson (Richard Kiley) is depicted as supportive of African-American Zeke Ward (James Edwards) and his family. In real life, following his term as Alabama attorney general (1954-1958), he ran for governor in 1958, ran an openly racist campaign and won. One of his opponents, George Wallace, had run as a racial moderate and told his friends after the election, "John Patterson out-niggered me, and I'm never gonna be out-niggered again." Four years later, in 1962, Wallace won the governorship of Alabama as an avowed segregationist. See more »

Goofs

When the body of Zeke Ward's little girl is thrown onto the Pattersons' lawn from the passing car, it is obviously a doll. See more »

Quotes

Rhett Tanner: [Looking at a bowl of turtles painted with numbers] You know, there ought to be a way to make a lot of money with these little turtles.
Cassie: Hunh?
Rhett Tanner: Yeah, havin' them in a turtle race, you know. If I could just figure out a way to fix the winner.
See more »


Soundtracks

Phenix City Blues
Music and Lyrics by Harold Spina
Sung by Meg Myles
See more »

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User Reviews

Non-Fiction Film
19 October 2001 | by (Micanopy, Florida, USA) – See all my reviews

I have seen this film quite a few times during my lifetime. It has been on television in the past. In the 1980's it was aired on an independent UHF television station in Tampa Bay, Florida, and my father taped it, so we were able to watch it at will. Additionally, I found a copy of it on-line. If you go to a search engine you will be able to find it as I did. The copy I have is a copy of a copy, so the quality is not perfect. The person I got it from said that it came from a Canadian distributor, and was not available anymore. Additionally, my wife is in a documentary film program at the University of Florida and is in the process of making a documentary about Phenix City, (which should be completed by summer 2002). During the course of preparing for this, I have spent some time in trying to find out if the film is in public domain or not. I am currently waiting to hear back from Warner Brothers as they may well own the current copyright on the film. (In January of 2001 the University of Alabama also did a documentary on Phenix City and used some of the footage from the film. A copy of their production is available from them.) I should note here why I am so interested in this film. My family used to own the Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer newspapers which is mentioned in "The Phenix City Story." The paper won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the story. My own grandfather was threatened with his life due to the paper's stories. I would like to see the film released on video and hope one day it will. We are coming up on the 50th anniversary of the main incidents that are shown in the film. Maybe that would be a good time to release the film again. Also, I am a motion picture still photographer, and have a listing on this website under my nickname, Gene Page.


24 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
anybody know a VHS or DVD source for this film? majortom-4
You think that was the end of corruption is Phenix city? laranadtony
TV showing in July reporterdan66
Cut Before Release? urish
Version with John Patterson ending? quixotism-9
How? MrsFeasterBunny
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