Successful New York attorney Sam Leibowitz travels to the South in 1933 to defend nine young black men accused of raping two women on an Alabama freight train. In the spring of 1931 nine black hoboes were pulled off an Alabama freight train and arrested for allegedly raping two young white women in a gondola car. Ranging in ages from twelve to twenty years, they were quickly tried and sentenced to the electric chair. News of their convictions spread and the plight of the Scottsboro Boys became a 'cause celebre' that fueled the fire of socialism worldwide, forcing an appeal to the United States Supreme Court and resulting in new trials for all nine defendants. New Yorker Samuel Leibowitz, a savvy and self-assured defense lawyer with an impressive string of courtroom victories, agreed to represent the accused at their retrials in Decatur, Alabama. His journey into the Deep South symbolized the polarity of the times and set in motion a legal battle that ultimately changed the course of ... Written by
During the final part of filming, production was shut down for three or four days because Hurricane Ivan going through Monroeville, Ala., where the film was being shot. The crew helped board up windows at the courthouse where the courtroom scenes were shot and even loaned the police a generator to keep the 911 service running. See more »
The opening sequence, a series of vignettes showing the events which led to the trial, is set on a freight train in 1931. Twice, the modern Diesel-electric locomotive heading the train comes into shot. And, for most of the sequence, the train is stationary. See more »
Heavens Fall - USA DVD RELEASE NOV. 6, 2007 - Superb Acting , Splendid Score
I had the great pleasure of seeing the East Coast Premiere of "Heavens Fall" at the Stony Brook Film Festival, Long Island, NY on July 20, 2006.
Timothy Hutton gave a riveting performance as defense attorney Samuel Leibowitz. In my opinion it was his best since his equally fine portrayal of Archie Goodwin in "Nero Wolfe." Bill Sage as prosecuting attorney Thomas Knight, Jr. and David Strathairn as Judge Horton were also excellent in their roles. Bill Smitrovich as co-defense attorney, Maury Chaykin in a cameo role as a bigoted insurance salesman, Francie Swift as Leibowitz' wife, Belle, and James Tolkan as Thomas Knight, Sr. (four other "Nero Wolfe" actors) were exceptional, too, as was B.J. Britt, Haywood Patterson, in his film debut. LeeLee Sobieski and Azura Skye as Victoria Price and Ruby Bates were marvelous in their extremely difficult roles.
The score by Tony Llorens was haunting - a perfect accompaniment for the plot and the beautiful cinematography by Paul Sanchez.
This fine movie with its superb acting, splendid score, and beautiful cinematography had only been seen in the US by festival audiences, but it is now available to a broader audience. (US DVD release, November 6, 2007) The DVD includes two "behind the scenes" documentaries by Charley Rivkin with additional footage by Adam Witt. The first, "Creating The Fall," includes interviews with Terry Green, Timothy Hutton, Bill Sage, David Strathairn, Anthony Mackie, LeeLee Sobieski, and Azura Skye with their thoughts on the movie and the subject matter. The second, "Surviving The Fall," is about the difficulties the cast and crew endured and heroics they performed when Hurricane Ivan interrupted the filming of "Heavens Fall."
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