I get the impression that most of the comments here are more influenced
by the entry in "The 50 Worst Films of All Time" than by the film
"Hurry Sundown" itself. Personally I don't give much credit to that
book since I consider Michael Medved to be one of the four or five
worst film reviewers of all time.
"Hurry Sundown" has been pretty much out of circulation in recent years. I shudder to think how network censors would have butchered it when it was broadcast on TV; anyone who saw it that way saw a different movie. It is now finally available on a good widescreen DVD and also on Amazon and Netflix streaming. I had been wanting to see it for a long time, if for no other reason than it being one of the handful of mainstream Hollywood films to earn a "condemned" rating from the Catholic Legion of Decency.
It wasn't nearly as bad as I expected; in fact I thought it was pretty good. It held my unflagging interest for its almost two-and-a-half hour running time, which is an accomplishment in itself; the worst thing a movie can be is boring. Not a great film, but an entertaining piece of Southern Gothic.
I couldn't get that upset at the casting of Michael Caine. I've certainly heard worse southern accents in movies. How about "Gone with the Wind" in which two of the four leads were played by Brits (and neither Leslie Howard nor Clark Gable even tried to sound southern)? Caine looked and sounded tentative in the opening helicopter scene (maybe that was the first scene filmed) but got more comfortable with the part as it went along. In many ways, Caine fit the role perfectly, since his character was a self-absorbed philanderer just like "Alfie."
People have scoffed at Burgess Meredith's racist judge, but let's face it, folks people like that really existed in the South back then (and maybe still do; is that Arizona sheriff much different?). Was Meredith's portrayal much more over-the-top than Ed Begley's in "Sweet Bird of Youth", which won an Oscar? I got the impression that Meredith might have been basing his character on George Wallace (the pre-1968 version), and he wouldn't have been far off.
As for the poor having better sex than the rich, well that's one of those clichés that just might have a bit of truth in it, especially when the poor girl is Faye Dunaway.
Were the black characters over-idealized? Perhaps, but that is the way Hollywood handled race issues back in the civil rights era. See, for example, pretty much anything starring Sidney Poitier. I don't remember anyone trying to make a film of William Faulkner's "Light in August," in which the central character is a mixed-race psychopath.
"Hurry Sundown" is a good choice when you want a nice juicy wallow in southern decadence. The color photography is pretty good, as is the musical score by Hugo Montenegro.
Following the Second World War, a northern cannery combine negotiates for the purchase of a large tract of uncultivated Georgia farmland. The major portion of the land is owned by Julie Ann Warren and has already been optioned by her unscrupulous, draft dodging husband, Henry. Now the combine must also obtain two smaller plots - one owned by Henry's cousin Rad McDowell, a combat veteran with a wife and family; the other by Reeve Scott, a young black man whose mother had been Julie's childhood Mammy. But neither Rad nor Reeve is interested in selling and they form an unprecedented black and white partnership to improve their land. Although infuriated by the turn of events, Henry remains determined to push through the big land deal. And when Reeve's mother Rose dies, Henry tries to persuade his wife to charge Reeve with illegal ownership of his property, confident the the bigoted Judge Purcell will rule against a Negro.
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June 01, 2016 at 10:48 PM