The Phenix City Story

Phil Karlson's noirish 1955 docudrama about organized crime is authentically seedy, shot in Alabama with adept use of many locals and an unusual candor about racist violence. Phenix City lawyer Albert Patterson (John McIntire) vows to clean up the corrupt gambling town as state attorney general, but he's assassinated before he can take office, leaving his son (Richard Kiley) to pursue a local mobster (Edward Andrews, who makes a wonderful villain). The corrosive script was coauthored by Daniel Mainwaring (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), a kind of specialist in 50s paranoia, and though the movie's politics are liberal, its moral outrage is so intense you may come out of it wanting to join a lynch mob. 100 min.

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