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Matewan (1987) Poster

(1987)

Trivia

David Strathairn, Kevin Tighe, Jace Alexander and John Sayles also appeared in Sayles' Eight Men Out (1988) about the 1919 Chicago "Black Sox" World Series scandal.
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Debut feature film of actor Chris Cooper.
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Thurmond was the site of one of the five offices of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. Two of the men killed in Matewan that day were Albert and Lee, brothers of agency owner, Thomas Felts. In retaliation, Felts had the former Matewan police chief, Sid Hatfield, and his deputy and friend Ed Chambers, killed when he was tried in Welch, WV. Both young men, unarmed and accompanied by their wives, walked up the steps to the courthouse and met five detectives (including the former spy Charles Everett Lively) waiting for them at the top. They were gunned down. Hatfield died almost instantly from chest wounds. Detective Hugh Lucas turned and emptied a gun into the courthouse wall, then placed the gun in the dead man's hand to make it look like self-defence. Lively shot Chambers, who had already been hit several times in the body and neck, behind the ear to make sure he was dead, despite Mrs Chambers' efforts to fend him off with her parasol. Hatfield was 28 years old, and Chambers 22, when they were killed. Their funeral was attended by thousands of miners.
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The movie mentions that Sid Hatfield married Mayor Cabell Cornelis Testerman's widow, Jessie Lee Maynard (1894-1976) - just two weeks after the mayor's death. Tom Felts and Charlie Lively accused Sid of killing Testerman himself in the confusion so that he could marry Jessie. However, Jessie stated that her first husband had asked his friend Sid to take care of her and their five-year-old son if anything should happen to him.
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Sid Hatfield and Mayor Testerman are buried next to each other in a small cemetery just outside of Matewan, in Buskirk, KY.
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In reality, the identity of the Baldwin-Felts spy in the community (who was indeed the character identified in the film) was not revealed until the trial which followed the battle.
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The film was selected to screen in the Section Parallèle of the Cannes Film Festival in 1987.
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John Sayles performed a number of roles on this film. Sayles was sole writer, an actor playing the character of Hardshell Preacher, and the film's director.
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According to John Sayles' official web-site, this picture "has become a staple in the teaching of U.S. Labor History".
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The movie was actually filmed in a town in central West Virginia known as Thurmond. This town is located on the New River. It is about 100 miles from the real city of Matewan.
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The picture was filmed during September and October 1986.
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The name of the mining organization was the Stone Mountain Coal Company.
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The first John Sayles film to get Oscar nominated that being for the Best Cinematography Academy Award for Haskell Wexler but the picture did not win for this.
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One of a number of collaborations of John Sayles and David Strathairn.
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According to Wikipedia, "The Battle of Matewan (also known as the Matewan Massacre) was a shootout in the town of Matewan, West Virginia in Mingo County on May 19, 1920 between local miners and the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency".
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A 2000 play, "Terror of the Tug", by Jean Battlo, examines the events that occurred straight after The Battle of Matewan.
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The name of the private detective agency was the the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency.
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The first name / nick name of Johnson (James Earl Jones) was "Few Clothes".
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The film's Matewan title refers to a town in the hills of West Virginia, USA where in 1920, a coal miners' strike lead to the Battle of Matewan.
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The movie was filmed in the actual American state of West Virginia where the Battle of Matewan took place though it was not filmed in Matewan but the West Virginia town of Thurmond instead portrayed Matewan.
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The nickname "Wobblies" refers to The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union which is an industrial global union that was established in 1905.
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The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Chris Cooper and four Oscar nominees: James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, John Sayles and David Strathairn.
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