Re: RARA-AVIS: Phenix City Story

Wed, 16 Jun 1999 03:53:00 -0700 (PDT)

A public thank you to Mark Sullivan for bringing attention to THE PHENIX CITY STORY on CINEMAX yesterday. I've wanted to see that movie for years and it did not disappoint. Quite an amazing picture for its time.

I'm also very surprised at how similar the picture was to the same director's later film (almost 20 years later!) WALKING TALL. Phil Karlson was one of those workhorses that explored similar themes over and over, but WALKING TALL seems almost a virtual remake of PHENIX CITY, even though both films are based on very specific true stories that took place a generation apart.

Both films are gritty, hardboiled and brutally violent. There's a bit of Ellroy trudging about in Phenix City. There were moments that reminded me of the Dog's writing.

Phenix City was so violent that they had to tack on a 13 minute
"documentary" at the beginning of the picture which supposedly justified the carnage to come. Most theatres in the Southern states lopped off the interview footage because it was too "inflammatory."

This was a crude but fascinating movie and a unique viewing experience. A time capsule in a feature film. If you didn't catch it this time be on the lookout for it in the future.


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