Well Done Historical drama
Stanley R. Kaminski | Chicago, Illinois | 11/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"History comes alive in this well done drama about a racial trial that the outcome of which appeared decided by the jury before the first witness took the stand. Nevertheless, it portrays the players in the legal system as real people who believe they are doing what is right. Persons who like good acting and fine drama will truly enjoy this movie. For full disclosure, I must point out that I was one of many who provided a small portion of the money needed to make this movie. However, it also must be pointed out that this movie won first place in the Hollywood film festival."
"Heavens Fall" - Superb Acting, Beautiful Cinematography,
Sarah Jaffee | 08/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Heavens Fall" tells the story of the Scottsboro Boys, nine black men who were convicted of raping two white women in Alabama in the early 1930's. New York defense attorney Samuel Leibowitz travels to Decatur, AL to defend the men in a retrial ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Timothy Hutton gives a riveting performance as Samuel Leibowitz - Hutton's best since his equally fine portrayal of Archie Goodwin in "Nero Wolfe." Bill Sage as prosecuting attorney Thomas Knight, Jr. and David Strathairn as Judge Horton are also excellent in their roles. Bill Smitrovich as co-defense attorney, Maury Chaykin in a cameo role, Francie Swift as Leibowitz' wife, Belle, and James Tolkan as Thomas Knight, Sr. (four other great "Nero Wolfe" actors) were exceptional, too, as was B.J. Britt, as Haywood Patterson, in his film debut. LeeLee Sobieski and Azura Skye as Victoria Price and Ruby Bates were marvelous in their extremely difficult roles.
The score by Tony Llorens was haunting - a perfect accompaniment for the plot and the beautiful cinematography by Paul Sanchez.
Nero Wolfe - The Complete Classic Whodunit Series
Great Acting, Cinematography
C. Wilson | California | 11/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great acting-- Timoty Hutton is intriguing, always looks like he's thinking. David Strathairn played the part of a judge to perfection-- forceul yet reserved. Azura Skye completely won me over. Beautiful cinematography, captured the feel of the deep south. Shot on a relatively low budget (less than two million), this is a brilliant work. I wish it had been longer. There was so much more I wanted to know about the characters. The DVD has some great features, including two documentaries.
Be sure to check out The Greatest White Trash Love Story Ever Told
1933 versus 1948
Cattywampus | 09/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The only quibble I have with this movie is Judge Horton should have dismissed the case against the nine men in 1933. Patterson escaped in 1948 from hard labor on a chain gang (just like in O Brother). The others were incarcerated, beaten up, shot in the head, etc., for at least six years. The movie makers wanted the audience to have some heroes but even though it ended Judge Horton's career, which was a waste because if you read his opinion in granting the motion to set aside the jury's decision, he was extremely erudite, he still should have been even braver and dismissed the case. The corroborating eyewitness testimony of Ruby Bates was gone and Leibowitz had pointed out that the other eyewitnesses in the first case had not been able to see the train. There was no evidence whatsoever. The actress who played Victoria Price should have made herself even uglier and more belligerent, like Charlize Theron in Monster. They should have made it plain that Victoria Price had been a prostitute for white and black men for years and had been transporting Ruby Bates, a minor, across state lines for the purposes of making money as prostitutes and had been in prison for fornication. (Something I read said some of the hobos were glad to go to jail to get something to eat so I am not sure how hard her jail sentence was.) Update: I have been doing some more reading and the person who started all this trouble, Victoria Price, was 27. She lied and said she was 21. She was afraid she was going to get into trouble for transporting a minor across state lines to make money as prostitutes. Ruby Bates was 17. It's called the Mann Act. She must have been a prostitute for over a decade. Nobody in that tiny cotton mill town could survive on what they made at the mill. The Aileen Wuornos story also shows how hardened someone becomes after years of being a prostitute. So I don't think LeeLee Sobieski should have been cast because she looked so fresh and innocent. Her acting was fine. The sheriff and the deputy from that tiny town were called in as character witnesses by Mr. Leibowitz and both said Victoria Price was a complete liar. Update: The code of the South required the lynch mob to be at the train stop just because the black boys threw the white boys off the train. No black person was allowed to get away with raising a hand to a white person, not only that if a white woman cried rape, the black man was lynched or legally lynched. Aren't they doing the same thing in the Congo now, where they say the woman was murdered because she put up some resistance while they were raping her, and the police show solidarity with the soldiers? Reign of terror. So when Victoria Price called "Rape!" she was essentially saying, "I'll show you how to put these [word omitted] in their place -- I'll say they raped me." This is in addition to her wanting to keep them from investigating her hobo-ing, which is punishable as vagrancy, and pimping for Ruby Bates. If the boys who had a fistfight had been white and the ones who got thrown off the train had walked to the nearest sheriff's office and said they wanted to file a charge of assault, the sheriff probably would have said they'll get away before we catch them and I'm liable to charge all of you with vagrancy, so go away and quit bothering me."