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I was in High School when this film came out, and somehow during all these years, I'd never come across it on t.v. or video. Finally, I streamed it on Prime last night. The main draw was because this was Director William Wyler's last film. Wyler had directed many Oscar winning films, and many Actors into Oscar winning performances as well. 'The Best Years of Our Lives', 'Mrs. Miniver', 'Ben-Hur', 'Wuthering Heights', 'The Letter', 'The Collector' and 'Funny Girl'. Not a bad list, eh? The first few opening minutes of this film were a bit jarring to me, the music, the rather 'flat' 70's lighting, which was strange because Wyler used his 3-time Oscar winning Cinematographer, Robert Surtees here. But the Acting, The Direction and The Script are all absolutely First Rate. Wyler still had it in him with this, his last film. When Actress Lola Falana gets slapped in the jail, you'll probably say out loud as I did, 'Boy was THAT overdue!' Made in 1970, the film is obviously dated. And yet the screenplay by Stirling Sillaphant who won an Oscar for his 'In the Heat of The Night' in 1967, is still quite potent and (unfortunately) relevant to parts of The Amercian South even today. A 'Book-End' to 'In the Heat of The Night', in it's own way.
William Wyler's final film completely blew me away. This neglected masterpiece needs to be seen by everyone who cares about race relations in the United States. Possibly the most relevant film of the moment and should be reconsidered here in 2020. Completely dismissed at the time of the films release as an "In the Heat of the Night" clone, primarily because screenwriter Stirling Silliphant adapted both novels which the films are based. This is a hard hitting drama about racism, not a murder mystery. Perhaps the film is a bit dated in some areas, but I'll take this any day over another Superhero film. It is harsh, and does not compromise. Hard to believe that this was not nominated for oscars, considering what some of the nominees were at the time (I'm looking at you "Love Story" and "Airport"). If you want to see what a master filmaker was still capable of at 69 years of age, I would highly recommend this film. I believe that if it was made by one of the young up and coming filmmakers, like Coppola, Penn or Scorsese, it would have been hailed by critics of the time. Audiences wanted irreverant humor (MASH), counter-culture (Five Easy Pieces) or old-fashioned entertainment at the time I guess. It will stay with you.
Is this fiction or a documentary? The film documents the depraved indifference to black lives in small town government and the criminal justice system. The film gives context to the Black Lives Matter movement when you think of how long black people have been underserved and underrepresented in the local government and justice system. If L.B. were treated like this how much worse could it have been for the common black people?
The most underrated film of William Wyler. It looks like a first film directed by a young black filmmaker. Strong and incisive comment on racial bigotry and prejudice without compromise. The ending is really surprising
This is how it was, back in the 50's, especially after the Supreme Court ordered the public schools to be de-segregated, and especially in the South. We get to see how the Mayor and DA fix a murder committed by the police. Tragic, but true. Hopefully this day & age of cellphone videos will change all that.
Liberation of L.B. Jones est le dernier film de William Wyler et on ne peut que le regretter. Un des rare film de l'époque abordant de front le problème du racisme sous un angle inédit et surtout avec un plus indéniable qui tranche avec la production de l'époque sur le sujet à savoir qu'ici c'est au noirs seuls de se prendre en main et de lutter sans compter sur l'aide du "bon blanc" de service habituel dans les films de l'époque. C'est sur ce plan que le film de Wyler se révèle des plus intéressant et de là qu'il tire sa force. Transfert correct mais le film mériterait une restauration.