HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Initiation
Redoubt
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
PG: Psycho Goreman
Maeve
Sound of Metal
Things of Life, The
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
   
 
Newest Articles
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
   
 
  Hurry Sundown Deep South Down In The Mouth
Year: 1967
Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Michael Caine, Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Diahann Carroll, Robert Hooks, Faye Dunaway, Burgess Meredith, Loring Smith, George Kennedy, Luke Askew, Beah Richards, Madeleine Sherwood, Donna Danton, Frank Converse, Rex Ingram, Jim Backus, Robert Reed
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1946 and this stretch of Georgia land has been bought for cultivation by wealthy local Henry Warren (Michael Caine) who got the place by dint of being married to its owner, his wife Julie Ann (Jane Fonda), but there's a problem. There are two plots of land which have not been sold, and that's a nuisance for Henry and his company, so much so that he decides to devise a method of getting it for himself; firstly, his cousin Rad McDowell (John Phillip Law) is home from the war and ready to farm one of the plots. Can he be persuaded?

One of the most lambasted movies of all time, Hurry Sundown might have sounded like a winner to its director Otto Preminger, but his perverse drive to bring out the worst in people and be satisfied that he was in control of such situations simply because he was their instigator was well to the fore in this production. It was based on a bestselling schlock paperback in which he apparently saw a new issue for his often willfully controversial material to discuss, which was racism. Bearing in mind that the United States was in the middle of a human rights struggle in the Deep South during the period this was made, you could envisage dollar signs lighting up in Preminger's eyes as he pondered his next move.

However, for full authenticity the director wanted to take his Hollywood crew to Georgia, a plan which was scuppered when he was refused by the authorities. Louisiana was his next choice, and he managed to secure permission only for his production to face resistance from the white locals, to put it mildly, with a campaign of intimidation put in motion against everyone involved in making the film, apparently because it had the temerity to shoot there when there were two African American actors in leading roles. That Hurry Sundown ended up a sad, bloated laughing stock was one of the great pities of the affair: you'd like to watch it and think, yeah, they were doing their bit for equality, but more likely you'd be cringing at the terrible taste on display.

Diahann Carroll and Robert Hooks, the two black performers who were the highest profile, spoke eloquently about how concerned they were while making Hurry Sundown (death threats can do that to a person), but when it came to portraying that prejudice onscreen, Preminger could only muster up the most hamfisted depiction possible, the result being the film flopped after some of the worst reactions to any movie. On the other hand, move forward a few years and Preminger's late career nosedive into the tacky was being reassessed, and there were those who pointed out that few artists were facing up to social problems during this era in the way that he was, and perhaps he should be applauded for trying. Then again, the detractors would point out, how seriously can we take such scenes as Jane Fonda sucking suggestively on Michael Caine's saxophone?

This addition of an attempted erotic atmosphere (that steamy climate is supposed to addle the characters' brains, apparently) could have been a distraction to the message, but there were other drawbacks. Caine's accent for a start, the set your teeth on edge performance of the kid playing his disturbed little son to continue, and the manner in which everyone seemed to be instructed to play up to as broad a personality as possible for a finish. Burgess Meredith was utterly ludicrous as a judge so racist that it seems to have driven him quite insane; the courtroom scenes where the deeds to the plots are discussed are almost entertaining for his risibility alone, and you wonder if the critics were missing something and this was actually one big send-up. Take a look at respected poet Beah Richards' big heart attack scene, for example (she looks as if she's been struck by a lightning bolt), or George Kennedy's spectacularly dim Sheriff. But more often than not it they looked all too sincere, leaving a folly at best, a farce at worst. Melodramatic music by Hugo Montenegro.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3404 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)
Posted by:
Andrew Pragasam
Date:
11 Feb 2013
  And then for an encore he made Skidoo. According to Robert Evans', in his admittedly self-serving autobiography, Otto Preminger screamed "I built this studio!" as they booted him off the Paramount lot. These days it's become all too fashionable among cineastes to dismiss Preminger as a hack, but he made a lot of great movies. Laura, for one. And he was Mister Freeze in Batman. Maybe if he'd been nicer to people on his way up they wouldn't have been so eager to kick him while he was down.
       
Posted by:
Graeme Clark
Date:
11 Feb 2013
  Maybe if Otto had retired after Bunny Lake is Missing (or been forced to retire) he might have the reputation of another Teutonic tyrant, Fritz Lang, because you're right, he was capable of making excellent movies. It's just that he pissed so many people off - Billy Wilder recalled making Stalag 17 with him and the way that the crew would make obscene gestures behind Preminger's back because he was so hated. It's kind of a shame, but he brought it on himself.
       


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
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: