6.8/10
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9 user 11 critic

The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970)

A gloomy vision of the possibility of decent relations between whites and blacks anywhere, including the South. Undertaker L.B. Jones, the richest black man in his county of Tennessee, is ... See full summary »

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Jesse Hill Ford (novel), Jesse Hill Ford (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee J. Cobb ... Oman Hedgepath
Anthony Zerbe ... Willie Joe Worth
Roscoe Lee Browne ... L.B. Jones
Lola Falana ... Emma Jones
Lee Majors ... Steve Mundine
Barbara Hershey ... Nella Mundine
Yaphet Kotto ... Sonny Boy Mosby
Arch Johnson ... Stanley Bumpas
Chill Wills ... Mr. Ike
Zara Cully ... Mama Lavorn
Fayard Nicholas ... Benny
Joseph Attles Joseph Attles ... Henry (as Joe Attles)
Lauren Jones Lauren Jones ... Erleen
Dub Taylor ... Mayor
Brenda Sykes ... Jelly
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Storyline

A gloomy vision of the possibility of decent relations between whites and blacks anywhere, including the South. Undertaker L.B. Jones, the richest black man in his county of Tennessee, is divorcing his wife for infidelity with a white policeman. Taking a stand against racism, he is greeted with a hostile bunch of Southern bigots and other various stereotypes. Written by Stirling Silliphant (In the Heat of the Night (1967)). Director William Wyler's final film. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A story of Southern hospitality. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie marked the first time that a black man killed a white man on-screen. See more »

Quotes

Oman Hedgepath: Wife and kids are doing okay?
Willie Joe Worth: Well, doing fine Mr. Oman.
Oman Hedgepath: That good, everything's fine.
Willie Joe Worth: Yes, sir.
Oman Hedgepath: Just keep that way.
Willie Joe Worth: Yes, sir Mr. Oman.
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Connections

Version of The Liberation of Honeydoll Jones (1977) See more »

User Reviews

 
Pretty Powerful stuff
26 March 2006 | by HEFILMSee all my reviews

The "novel" this is based on was according to the author, almost entirely true, only the names were changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. This underlying truth plays out strongly here. I must stop to say the plot synopsis has nothing to do with the film. This is not a mystery with a "who did it" structure and it is not a courtroom justice or injustice movie. The events play out in sequence and we jump from character to character so that it remains, every bodies story, so to speak. We aren't allowed to distance ourselves from the story by taking the look from the good lawyer or cops perspective after the fact. Yaphet Kotto among many, probably gives the best performance. The photography and the score both seem a bit dated, though each have their strong moments, otherwise this doesn't date at all. The characters motives, good and bad, are clearly laid out and well performed. There are a few moments of technical slop, some optical blow ups of shots in the middle of dialog scenes and a couple of lazy zooms that would not have appeared in a Wyler film a few years before that, but in every other way this shows him still at the top of his game. It's a shame that he stopped making films after this. He himself considered it a strong film and he seems to have more or less expected that it would anger people (white ones that is) when it was released. His usual skill with actors is in evidence and there is some interesting use of sound to help tell the story at crucial moments. Very powerful stuff all around.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 June 1970 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones See more »

Filming Locations:

Humboldt, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Liberation Company See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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