Sunday, March 17, 2013

297. Phenix City Story

The Phenix City Story
Directed by Phil Karlson

Wow.  How they got away with this movie is beyond me.  Not only is this the most violent movie yet on the list, but it also depicts the corruption and racism that took place in the south during this time.  I suppose this film was not censored because it is such a B movie.

This film is about an all out war on the racism, protestation, and organized crime that takes place in Phenix City.  Along the way, we get some truly gruesome deaths including that of a little black girl.  That case is dismissed immediately, though, because, well, this is Alabama in the 50s.

Like I said, this is a B movie so the acting could be better.  The screenplay could have been better as well; most of the lines sounded a bit hokey.

This is not a movie that is particularly enjoyable to watch.  The violence and racism made me feel slightly sick and I was very glad when the movie ended.  Though I do not want to spoil anything, I was very disappointed with the ending.

So overall, a gruesome film that I never want to see again.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

One of Scorsese's favorite movies.

John Patterson is depicted as being supportive toward African American families.  In reality, he was extremely racist.


  1. I couldn't believe how violent this movie was either! Definitely unexpected for this time period!

    1. I know! I don't think it would have struck us as that odd if we weren't going through the films chronologically.

  2. I too felt sick watching this movie. When the little girl was killed I wanted to stop the movie right there. Violence toward children I have no tolerance for.

  3. Hmmm. Violence, I would say, can be justified if it is true and the truth needs to be told. Except in this case the murdered girl being thrown on the lawn apparently didn't happen.

    Reading around a bit, it turns out that Albert Patterson wasn't murdered by the mob either. His election win was in the Democratic primary (which would have made the actual election a formality for him). But as he was going to testify before a grand jury about voter fraud, he was murdered by a sheriff and a solicitor who wanted to cover up the practice.

    They say that you should never meet your heroes because you can only be disappointed. This is good advice. Similarly, I'm starting to think that you should never read more about the real facts behind any based-on-a-true-story film as you can only be disappointed when you discover that half of it was made up. A pity, as I was very impressed by the film in my ignorant state and any future viewing would now be soured by knowing the truth. As such, I'm not sure I could navigate between all this and judge whether it's actually any good any more.