5.1/10
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Klansman (1974)

A local Sheriff tries to keep the peace as racial strife hits his small Alabama town as tensions boil over when a black man is accused of raping a white woman.

Director:

Terence Young

Writers:

William Bradford Huie (novel), Millard Kaufman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Marvin ... Sheriff Track Bascomb
Richard Burton ... Breck Stancill
Cameron Mitchell ... Butt Cutt Cates
O.J. Simpson ... Garth
Lola Falana ... Loretta Sykes
David Huddleston ... Mayor Hardy Riddle
Luciana Paluzzi ... Trixie
Linda Evans ... Nancy Poteet
Ed Call Ed Call ... Shaneyfelt
John Alderson John Alderson ... Vernon Hodo
John Pearce John Pearce ... Taggart
David Ladd ... Flagg
Vic Perrin Vic Perrin ... Hector
Spence Wil-Dee Spence Wil-Dee ... Willy Washington
Wendell Wellman ... Alan Bascomb
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Storyline

A small southern town has just been rocked by a tragedy: a young woman has been violently raped. The white town fathers immediately declare that the attacker had to be black, and place the blame on Garth, a young black man. Assuming that the men in white sheets aren't intent on holding a fair and impartial trial, Garth takes to the woods as the Klansmen lynching party hunts him down. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Welcome to scenic Atoka County. Pop 10,000. Cross burnings. Rape. Murder. Arson. Its a great place to live...... if THEY let you.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 October 1974 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Klansman See more »

Filming Locations:

Oroville, California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Atlanta Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The story goes that Richard Burton was almost perpetually drunk on set that many of his scenes had to be shot with him either sitting or lying down as no one could trust him to remain standing on his feet. Listen carefully and you can quite clearly hear him slur in some scenes. Burton was on three bottles of vodka a day. See more »

Goofs

A squib can be seen under the outfit worn by the Klansman killed at Johnson's funeral. See more »

Quotes

Loretta Sykes: Hey, what are you trying to do?
Garth: Kick some asses, baby.
Loretta Sykes: What's the point of busting up a peaceful meeting?
Garth: What good's a peaceful meeting? It's for them bourgeois negros. When you gonna learn anyway that all that marching gonna get you is what you got. Screwed.
Loretta Sykes: And don't you know you gotta keep violence out of the movement?
Garth: You know, if I was a honky I'd want niggers to all be just like you. Do nothings. Always marching them dumb-ass marches and mouthing them dumb-ass slogans.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to edit the rape and castration scenes. All 15-rated UK DVD releases feature the heavily edited US TV version which completely removes these sequences as well as extensively cutting bad language and most of the violence. See more »

Connections

Featured in O.J. Simpson: Juice on the Loose (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Abide with me
(uncredited)
Music by William H. Monk (uncredited)
Played at Johnson's funeral
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very rough and raw racial drama.
17 April 2017 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

Lee Marvin is well cast and Richard Burton amusingly MIS-cast in this adaptation of the William Bradford Huie novel. Marvin plays "Track" Bascomb, an Alabama lawman who tries to keep the peace during a period of unrest. Soon a civil rights demonstration will be coming to his town, and the local foaming at the mouth racists will have none of it. Burton plays Breck Stancill, a liberal minded landowner incensed at the activities of Klan members such as Tracks' own deputy sheriff Butt Cutt Cates (Cameron Mitchell). Yes, Butt Cutt is his actual character name.

Although both Marvin and Burton were apparently drinking heavily during production, Marvin comes off a lot better. You see that it can't help but affect Burtons' mopey performance, and any attempts that the actor makes at a Southern accent. Much of the cast does creditable work. David Huddleston is the pompous mayor, Linda Evans a resident who is unfortunately raped within the first quarter hour, Lola Falana a young lady whom Breck took under his wing, and Luciana Paluzzi a civil servant. Other familiar faces like David Ladd, Hoke Howell, Lee de Broux, Jeannie Bell, and Virgil Frye turn up. We also have none other than O.J. Simpson as a black man driven to take matters into his own hands.

Samuel Fuller was the original director, and retains a screen writing credit; he left the project early on. The filmmaker in whose hands this ended up was Terence Young, of such James Bond adventures as "From Russia with Love" and "Thunderball".

This ultra trashy melodrama establishes a certain tone within the first few minutes, and therefore some viewers will find it pretty hard to stomach. It's pretty violent, and tends to discard such things as good taste. But if this sort of approach intrigues you rather than turns you off, you'll find that this IS rather potent and visceral entertainment. If you're anything like this viewer, you can't help but cheer every time a particularly odious character gets what they deserve.

On location shooting in Oroville, California, and a good music score by Stu Gardner & Dale O. Warren definitely help matters. That opening song, "The Good Christian People", is a corker.

The scene of Burton effortlessly manhandling Mitchell is a comic highlight, even if it wasn't intended to be that way.

Seven out of 10.


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