Friday, March 19, 2010

1955 - THE PHENIX CITY STORY, trying not to overpraise this very entertaining film


The Phenix City Story, is supposedly based on a true story.  It's about a town controlled by organized crime.  The director of this film is Phil Karlson.  Karlson will never be confused with Stanley Kubrick that's for sure.  He was the mastermind behind a couple of the Dean Martin Matt Helm films, and the original Walking Tall.


Subtlety was not exactly his metier.  Karlson took this story and kept it moving at top speed with enough action and nasty violence for a 1950's film that even got my jaded attention.

For what is basically a cheap 50's B movie, Karlson had the inspired idea to shoot the  film on location in Phenix City, Alabama, using the local yokels in small speaking parts.  It really added to the authenticity of the film.

 

There is an extremely strange 15 minute news documentary short at the beginning of the film.   A newsman wanders around the town interviewing the local citizens about crime in the city.  Clearly the idea was to bring some sort of gravititas to the film but don't kid yourself this is basically an action packed and very enjoyable pulpy film.

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