HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
   
 
  Liberation of L.B. Jones, The Southern Discomfort
Year: 1970
Director: William Wyler
Stars: Lee J. Cobb, Anthony Zerbe, Roscoe Lee Browne, Lola Falana, Lee Majors, Barbara Hershey, Yaphet Kotto, Arch Johnson, Chill Wills, Zara Cully, Fayard Nicholas, Joseph Attles, Lauren Jones, Dub Taylor, Brenda Sykes, Larry D. Mann, Ray Teal, Eve McVeagh
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: A train travels into this town in the Deep South, and three passengers contrast with one another, a couple, Mr and Mrs Mundine (Lee Majors and Barbara Hershey), who are moving there to be part of the legal practice of her father Oman Hedgepath (Lee J. Cobb), and Sonny Boy Mosby (Yaphet Kotto) whose only possession he has on him is a cigar box containing a handgun. He has returned for revenge, as when he was a young boy he saw a cop murder his friend, but he has to be smart and not allow the law to know what he is there for, so when he jumps off the train before it reaches the station, he manages to play dumb as a different cop, Officer Worth (Anthony Zerbe), approaches...

The most interesting thing about The Liberation of L.B. Jones is that it was based on a true story, a real life lynching of a black pillar of the community that was turned into a book by Jesse Hill Ford who also penned the screenplay, only for it to be extensively rewritten by big deal at the time Stirling Silliphant. The case should have been a scandal, but there was a cover-up thanks to the endemic racism of the authorities, so naturally the book pissed off a lot of people in the area, and it was clear the film was intended to do the same for the whole of America, an expose of how awful conditions were for the non-white population of the South even after the Civil Rights pioneers.

Yet it did not turn out that way, as obviously racists were not going to attend it, the portrayal of white liberalism as utterly useless didn't endear it to that market, and the black audience wouldn't be too keen to go and see a tale of the racists winning over their community, no matter that it notoriously featured the first black on white murder in Hollywood history. Well, maybe not that notoriously, as at the time this made few waves, and now is almost completely forgotten outside of those intrigued by the curios that the early years of racial progress in the mainstream would throw up as a matter of course. And no wonder: under William Wyler's direction, it was a lumbering beast.

Wyler was the most successful director of his age, second only to John Ford, a German emigre who had ended up in Hollywood and proceeded to develop no real identifiable style but went about his productions with immense skill and professionalism. His previous film had been the Barbra Streisand hit Funny Girl, a typical confection of the sixties still clinging to the genres of the Golden Age, but he always had a streak of social conscience that made him invested in asking difficult questions of society in regular projects, so that was presumably what attracted him to adapting this book. However, there had already been a massive success on the subject of the problems of the South, and that was In the Heat of the Night, which significantly ended by patting everyone on the back for the progress they were making.

Not so with L.B. Jones, where aside from the titular character who was painted as too good for the community, and by extension the nation, he was trapped in, everyone else was, shall we say, somewhat flawed. Jones' wife was Emma (future Las Vegas showstopper Lola Falana), who only married him for his money and is having an affair with Worth that she flaunts in her husband's face, that is until she is made pregnant by Worth and he starts knocking her around, since his power trip is having sex with black women (he rapes one poor soul later on) and that extends to victimising them. Hedgepath meanwhile, asked to arrange a divorce, represented the bigotry in authority and vacillates over the task until it doesn't matter anymore, then arranges a cover up when the unspeakable happens; he also bandies the N word around so often you'd think he was a refugee from a Quentin Tarantino movie. Meanwhile (again) Mosby plots and plots. Really, this painted such an unlovely picture of humanity that it was a chore to sit through under Wyler's stuffy, past it technique, neither as outrageous as the seventies deserved, nor incisive as the case needed. Music by Elmer Bernstein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 517 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: