I was coming up to 12 years old when I saw this, a bit under 50 years ago. I've always remembered it, for the very laconic performance of Sterling Hayden which made me a lifelong fan. The director (Frankenheimer), writer (Foote) and both leads (Hayden, Geraldine Page) were all top of their skills. Foote was nominated for an Emmy for the script, and then nearly 40 years later (1997) he actually won the Emmy for his second version of the same Faulkner "long short story". The story is about character, not plot -- and human honesty vs a system that is impersonal and stupid; all taking place on the Mississippi -- which may remind you of Huck Finn and his struggle to be honest with himself in the midst of a racist culture that told him his instincts (to treat all humans as humans) were wrong. The 'tall convict' in the Faulkner story is also stubbornly true to his precepts -- won't run away, as faithful to the stranded, pregnant woman as Horton (who hatches the Who) in the Dr Zeuss book. And is given the stupidest possible 'reward' for his efforts: read the story. What would be really nice -- would be if I could see it again!
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