7.4/10
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40 user 31 critic

The Phenix City Story (1955)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 14 August 1955 (USA)
A crime-busting lawyer and his initially reluctant attorney father take on the forces that run gambling and prostitution in their small Southern town.

Director:

Phil Karlson

Writers:

Crane Wilbur (screenplay), Daniel Mainwaring (screenplay) (as Dan Mainwaring)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John McIntire ... Albert L. Patterson
Richard Kiley ... John Patterson
Kathryn Grant ... Ellie Rhodes
Edward Andrews ... Rhett Tanner
Lenka Peterson ... Mary Jo Patterson
Biff McGuire ... Fred Gage
Truman Smith Truman Smith ... Ed Gage
Jean Carson ... Cassie
Kathy Marlowe Kathy Marlowe ... Mamie (as Katharine Marlowe)
John Larch ... Clem Wilson
Allen Nourse Allen Nourse ... Jeb Bassett
James Edwards ... Zeke Ward
Helen Martin ... Helen Ward
Otto Hulett ... Hugh Bentley
George Mitchell ... Hugh Britton
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Storyline

In this semidocumentary, an Alabama town is run by a crime syndicate that's grown fat on prostitution and crooked gambling, directed at soldiers from Fort Benning across the river. Lawyer John Patterson, back from the army, is triggered by what he sees to join the reformers with a plan: to run his father Albert for state attorney general. The syndicate responds with escalating violence: is no one safe? Credits preceded by a "newscast" containing spoilers. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Exposed in LIFE, LOOK and THE SATURDAY EVENING POST! Now the year's greatest screen sensation! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 August 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cidade do Vício See more »

Filming Locations:

Columbus, Georgia, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Allied Artists Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (without prologue)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is one of Martin Scorsese's personal favorite films. See more »

Goofs

When the body of Zeke Ward's little girl is thrown onto the Pattersons' lawn from the passing car, it is obviously a doll. See more »

Quotes

John Patterson: [Viewing the dead body of a black girl thrown from the car] Who is she?
Albert L. Patterson: Zeke's baby.
John Patterson: Did thy kill her just for this?
Albert L. Patterson: They've killed for less.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The initial release version ran 87 minutes, but soon after, a gratuitous 13-minute "newsreel" preface was added and an epilogue, read by Richard Kiley. The real John Patterson used this film as campaign too when he ran for Governor of Alabama (beating the young George Wallace). Patterson filmed the same epilogue as Kiley, and Patterson's version was used when the film played in Alabama. See more »


Soundtracks

Phenix City Blues
Music and Lyrics by Harold Spina
Sung by Meg Myles
See more »

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User Reviews

Mandatory Viewing
6 March 2003 | by scopitoneSee all my reviews

Whether your a fan of Noir or not, The Phenix City Story remains superior filmaking on all levels regardless of it's budget and lack of special effects. While some may laugh at substituting a doll briefly for a dead child; it's follow up scene continues to have as much shocking impact today as it did upon it's release. To say this is textbook noir filmaking is too small as by all standards The Phenix City Story is the barometer by which crime, realism, fistfights and expose cinema is measured up to.


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