The Phenix City Story

  • 1955
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime, Docudrama

After performing military service, Kiley returns to his Alabama hometown and finds it even worse than when he left. Lying just across the state line from Columbus, Georgia, and that state's Ft. Benning, the town features prostitution, drugs, and crooked gambling, all under the control of down-home crime czar Andrews, earning Phenix City the tag "wickedest...read more

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After performing military service, Kiley returns to his Alabama hometown and finds it even worse than when he left. Lying just across the state line from Columbus, Georgia, and that state's Ft. Benning, the town features prostitution, drugs, and crooked gambling, all under the control of

down-home crime czar Andrews, earning Phenix City the tag "wickedest city in the US." Kiley's father is elected attorney general on a reform ticket, and then is brutally murdered. Kiley accepts the job with the help of some angry citizens, and after trouble breaks out later, calls out the Alabama

National Guard. Despite warnings--such as the dumping of the corpse of a murdered black child on his front lawn and the murder of Grant (one of Andrews' casino card dealers, who decides to go straight)--Kiley finally triumphs. Based on true occurrences that took place only a year previously, the

film opens with a 13-minute prolog in which Roberts interviews some of the actual participants in the events dramatized in the film, including the widow of Albert Patterson, the reformer murdered by the mobsters in the town. This portion, which helped get the extremely violent film past censors by

grounding it in actual events, was optional and many exhibitors in the South cut it as too inflammatory. Although not director Karlson's best movie, it is in many ways his most remembered. Significantly, perhaps, he returned to the theme of the lone crusader versus the corrupt southern town in

1973 with WALKING TALL, likewise based on real-life events.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: After performing military service, Kiley returns to his Alabama hometown and finds it even worse than when he left. Lying just across the state line from Columbus, Georgia, and that state's Ft. Benning, the town features prostitution, drugs, and crooked ga… (more)

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