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The Phenix City Story

  • Crime/detective
  • Drama
  • 1955
  • Phil Karlson
  • 86 mins
  • X

Summary

Crime drama, based on real events in the 1950s, starring John McIntire. Phenix City, Alabama - ("Sin City, USA") - a town in the grip of mob violence and syndicate corruption. John Patterson, a young crusading lawyer, is determined to break the reign of terror, but his campaign is threatened by savage reprisals.

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Review

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

Sensational in its day (and rightly "X"-certified in the UK, albeit with severe cuts), this exposé of vice and corruption in an Alabama town was filmed in the wake of the infamous Senator Estes Kefauver investigations into crime across the United States, and expertly directed by Phil Karlson. Co-star Richard Kiley, long before success on Broadway in Man of La Mancha, embodies moral uprightness as the returning lawyer, who finds his life dramatically changed by encroaching home-town vice. The movie is brutally unsparing in its depiction of corruption, and the sense of realism is heightened by a non-stellar cast, though both John McIntire and Edward Andrews may seem more familiar to today's movie watchers than at the time. The originally tight cut of the movie is now preceded by a 13-minute prologue, added for theatrical release to boost the film from "B" to "A" length, which adds extra emphasis to the true-life origins of its riveting story.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

rolename
Albert PattersonJohn McIntire
John PattersonRichard Kiley
Ellie RhodesKathryn Grant
Rhett TannerEdward Andrews
Mary Jo PattersonLenka Peterson
Fred GageBiff McGuire
Ed GageTruman Smith
CassieJean Carson
JudyMeg Myles
MamieKatharine Marlowe
Clem WilsonJohn Larch

Crew

rolename
DirectorPhil Karlson

Details

Theatrical distributor
Assoc. British Pathe Ltd
Languages
English
Guidance
Contains some violence.
Formats
Black and white
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