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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
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 »
[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.
Yeah, havin' them in a turtle race, you know. If I could just figure out a way to fix the winner.
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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.
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