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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>
Richard Burton and Lee Marvin were both drinking heavily during filming. At one point Burton confided to Marvin that he would like to play a cop in a film set in New York, but couldn't trust himself to do a convincing American accent. (His accent in this film was widely ridiculed, particularly since it wavered throughout the movie). Marvin replied, "But Richard, you're a great actor. You can learn." Burton apparently treasured the compliment for the rest of his life. See more »
I must confess a certain amount of guilt in enjoying this movie. It bumbles along at a shockingly easy-to-watch pace and stops well short of making any intelligent moral statement condeming racial prejudice (the dilema inherent in the Sheriff character was an exception). Normally the type to turn this kind of film off I found the way in which it used such serious themes as an excuse to unashamedly descend into an action thriller worryingly entertaining. At times you kind of got the feeling the screenplay writers had scripted a plot and strenuously tried to fit serious racial points around them. At times the violence became good guy/bad guy driven just like that in Dr. No, also directed by Young.
Perhaps this is the genius of the movie - making a profound statement as to the way cinema tends to illicit an emotive response from the viewing public by making entertainment out of serious issues. Somehow I think not.
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