View Full Version : "The Klansman" : A Lee Marvin Film
04-09-2006, 01:51 AM
Yeah, I know it's probably not one of his best and its quality sucks, but it is a nice prequel to Mississippi Burning and shows the Klan in their true, hateful light.
By today's standards, it is definitely a "C" movie, but it does feature Richard Burton, and (I'm sorry to say) O.J. Simpson, but I think the message it was trying to send was an honest one.
All things being relative, maybe those of us who saw this movie when it first was shown might have learned a few things.
I hope so.
04-09-2006, 03:20 AM
My father knew the author of The Klansman, Bill Huie, fairly well. He was an ornery but interesting old fellow who hated the Klan with a passion. He was, like many southerners with some education and sophistication, a "genteel separatist" (that class of southerners [like, I'm sad to say, my father] who had no great dislike of black people and quite agreed they were treated unfairly and that Jim Crow was wrong, but at the same time they did nothing to combat it and they certainly didn't think that blacks were equal to whites or should be brought all the way up to equal footing at once- they wanted something a little fairer than the status quo but less than full equality). However, the more he wrote and investigated as a journalist the more liberal he became. It was while he was investigating the Mississippi Burning murders (Schwermer, Goodman, Chaney), where the brutality of the crime (three unarmed men set up by a sheriff and murdered in cold blood by a small army incited by a Baptist preacher (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Ray_Killen)) and the stupidity/desperation/cruelty of the men responsible so sickened him that he slid so far left many of his closest friends would never speak to him again. I actually remember him talking to my father forever on our trips to Guntersville (a beautiful lake community in the Bama Appalachians) about how "those men would yell 'anybody who'd kill a nigger or a kyke is a friend of mine, yessiree!', and then for forty dollars they'd sell you their friends, their relatives, their neighbors anybody they knew who had committed murder... that's how the FBI caught those crackers responsible, wasn't hardly any investigation to it, just waived a few thousand dollars around and had to beat off the Kluxers with a goddamned stick they were so eager to sell their neighbors... 'oh, but you aren't gone tell 'em I'm the one turned 'em in are you? If you are, I gotta have more than that!' My grandmama was more of a man than the let of 'em put together."
I wish that I'd been old enough to appreciate the man at the time. I was probably around 13 the last time I met him so I was only barely able to hold on to the conversation. He had been to Vietnam (as a journalist), known James Earl Ray extremely well (wrote a book with him) and had no doubt he killed King ("Oh he'll say he didn't when the camera's come around, but the man's half stupid and the other half crazy"), knew LBJ, etc.. My father was the type who could get a monk under a vow of silence for 30 years to not only talk but sing The Arkansas Traveler with him and I think Mr. Huie liked to talk to begin with so they would literally talk for eight hours when they saw each other.
Sorry for the hijack.
Some trivia: Part of Mr. Huie's reason to call his novel The Klansman was because as a true lover of Southern history (warts and all) he hated Thomas Dixon's novel The Klansman on which Birth of a Nation was based as one of the stupidest and most inaccurate pieces of propaganda he'd ever read.
04-09-2006, 08:48 PM
Sorry to be so long in replying, but please don't ever apologize for furthering information so necessary to the topic.
I myself have a brother who uses the "N" word every chance he gets, but still, he's my brother.
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