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The Phenix City Story (1955)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,200 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 26 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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Airs Sat. Sep. 20, 1:15 PM on TCM

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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:

ALABAMA'S CITY OF SIN AND SHAME! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 August 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cidade do Vício  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (without prologue)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Such was director Phil Karlson's attention to detail, he had some of his actors wear the actual clothes of their screen counterparts. 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

Albert L. Patterson: Rhett, I'm not stickin' my neck out. Why should I? Phoenix City has been what it is for 80, 90 years. Who am I to try to reform it?
See more »


Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Not Even With Chicago And Al Capone
17 July 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I'm surprised that more people are not aware of this story which climaxed with no less than the murder of the Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Alabama at the time when said nomination was tantamount to election. That the election of Albert Patterson scared the local criminal syndicate into that kind of move is almost unprecedented. The only other example I can think of something like this occurring was in the early years of the last century when Special Prosecutor Francis J. Heney was shot and wounded while he was investigated the corrupt city machine in San Francisco.

After a brief documentary introduction by CBS news reporter Clete Roberts of actual Phenix City residents, the story begins with the Pattersons, father John McIntire and son Richard Kiley getting reluctantly involved in the fight to clean up their town which is notorious for being a wide open cesspool of vice and corruption. It's pointed out that Phenix City is across from Columbus, Georgia and thirty minutes from Fort Benning. A certain amount of vice and corruption will inevitably settle there in towns that cater to the military and the pleasures the service people will seek off duty.

But Phenix City has gotten way out of hand and it's become a state embarrassment to the people of Alabama. Which is why John McIntire wins that primary leading the way to the unheard of events that followed. Let's just say that what happens here was contemplated, but never done in Chicago during the days of Al Capone.

The cast also includes Kathryn Grant as a young woman working as an informer in one of the clubs, Lenka Patterson as Kiley's loyal, but concerned wife, Edward Andrews and John Larch as brains and muscle behind the syndicate. It also includes James Edwards and Helen Martin whose child is killed when Edwards helps Kiley. With I might add the appropriate feeling one might have for a small black girl in Alabama of the Fifties.

After the action of this film John Patterson took his dad's place as Attorney General and did put an end to the corruption of Phenix City. In 1958 he ran for Governor and won, but contrary to what you might think ran on a strict segregationist platform. His main primary opponent taking the more moderate racial position was George C. Wallace. That never happened again, Wallace saw to that.

And Patterson is still alive and in 2008 was a supporter of Barack Obama for president. Truth can really be stranger than fiction.

The Phenix City Story is a hard hitting, pulling no punches documentary style of a family's fight against corruption. Try to see it when next broadcast.


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

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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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