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A small southern town has just been rocked by a tragedy: a young woman has been violently raped. The white town fathers immediately declare that the attacker had to be black, and place the blame on Garth, a young black man. Assuming that the men in white sheets aren't intent on holding a fair and impartial trial, Garth takes to the woods as the Klansmen lynching party hunts him down. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
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Nowhere near as bad as some people claim! Muddled, but still watchable.
I'd heard a lot ABOUT 'The Klansman' but had never seen it before, and hearing the behind the scenes stories (original director an co-writer Sam Fuller walking off set, stars Lee Marvin and Richard Burton both being allegedly so drunk they couldn't remember making it!) I imagined that it was going to be one of the worst movies ever made. It isn't. Now it isn't all that good, mind you, but it's watchable b-grade trash, and Marvin puts in a good performance, drunk or not. Burton's accent is I agree not too good but he is okay, especially if he like Marvin was as drunk as they say he was. The rest of the cast includes the notorious O.J. Simpson as a one man black revolutionary with a gun and an attitude, 'The Big Lebowski's David Huddleston is a racist mayor, and legendary character actor Cameron Mitchell ('Hombre', 'Ride In The Whirlwind', 'The Rebel Rousers',etc.) as the wonderfully named Butt Butt Cates, the later two both being members of the KKK. Linda Evans also appears as a rape victim who sets off a chain of events which end off in violence and tragedy. The main problem with the movie, and this is most likely because of the drama off camera, is that the movie can't decide whether it's trying to be a serious message movie or an exploitation film using racism as an excuse for some sensationalistic thrills. 'Mandingo' made the following year (and its sequel 'Drum') managed to juggle both approaches with a little more success, but 'The Klansman' suffers for its lack of a clear direction. Even so, this movie is nowhere near as bad as many people claim (people who I imagine have never actually WATCHED it) and is still reasonably entertaining, especially if , like 'Reservoir Dogs' Mr Blonde, you are a big Lee Marvin fan.
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