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Vincent Van Patten
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Peter R. Hunt
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Samuel Fuller submitted a screenplay that was almost completely different from what was filmed. Among other things, the Lee Marvin character was not a sheriff, but a KKK leader whose racist viewpoint is completely changed around. However, Paramount got nervous about the provocative nature of the screenplay and ordered it rewritten, infuriating Fuller (who left the project because of this) and Marvin (who wanted out but had already signed a contract.) See more »
What was director Young (Dr. No) thinking of taking on this project?! This is every bit as bad as I've heard. To begin with, there's the script, certainly among the worst ever written. Then there's the acting, very stereotypical of its day, except with the stars, Marvin and Burton, who clearly have no idea what they are doing here and don't really care. Then there's the anachronisms - the script belongs to the '60s, it's 5 years out of date. Then of course the morality - while the Klan is rightly to be condemned, can a black murderer be justified? Can he just be asked to leave the county as the sheriff does here? Ridiculous. And then there's the "action" climax - confusing and improbable.
Was Young high when he did this? I can't think of any other excuse.
Bad when not just awful.
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