A New York City detective, traveling by train between New York and Baltimore, tries to foil an on-board plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln before he reaches Baltimore to give a major pre-Inauguration speech in 1861.
Rural Mississippi in the 1940s: Lucas Beauchamp, a local black man with a reputation of not kowtowing to whites, is found standing over the body of a dead white man, holding a pistol that has recently been fired. Quickly arrested for murder and jailed, Beauchamp insists he's innocent and asks the town's most prominent lawyer, Gavin Stevens, to defend him, but Stevens refuses. When a local boy whom Beauchamp has helped in the past and who believes him to be innocent hears talk of a mob taking Beauchamp out of jail and lynching him, he pleads with Stevens to defend Beauchamp at trial and prove his innocence.Written by
I usually don't like movies based on famous and well-established authors, "sure bets". They seem to be telling the public "You can't POSSIBLY dislike this!!!" I tend to prefer movies that take chances with unknown authors or actors, movies that care for art, not money. But this one is so well-made. Everything works: the photography, the acting, the pacing, and it has that documentary beauty of real life that so few movies have (love those window shots where you see small town downtown traffic!). It's historic interest also makes it enjoyable. A kind of poetry pervades this movie that makes it far more effective than the similar "To Kill a Mockingbird". Hernandez is pure dignity - character and actor - and Jarman is a most refreshing contrast to today's smart-alecky youth. He has a humility that is touching. It is hard to imagine another actor in that role. Is this movie on the side of the angels? Sure. And the black and white poetry saves it.
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