INTRUDER IN THE DUST (1949) B/W 87m dir: Clarence Brown
w/David Brian, Claude Jarman Jr., Juano Hernandez, Porter Hall, Elizabeth Patterson, Charles Kemper, Will Geer, David Clarke, Elzie Emanuel, Lela Bliss
A lawyer and his nephew come to the aid of a black man when he's accused of murder.
From The Movie Guide: "The lack of big name stars is, if anything, a plus in making this one of the most powerful movies ever made about racism. Based on [William] Faulkner's novel and filmed on location near the writer's native Oxford, MI, Brown's film features more than 500 people, only a small portion of whom were professional actors. Hernandez plays Lucas Beauchamp, an elderly black man who owns his own property, something the locals resent. The police arrest him for the murder of a townsman because he was discovered near the body and the revolver he carried had just been fired. On the way to jail he spots Chick (Jarman), a young white lad with whom he is friendly. He asks Chick to get Stevens (Brian), the boy's attorney uncle, to come to the jail. ...
"The most chilling scene in the movie is a lengthy sequence which cuts from the people of Oxford gleefully assembling (not unlike the crowd to see the man trapped below ground in THE BIG CARNIVAL) at the jail for a lynching to shots of music playing and kids eating ice cream. Everyone is in a jolly mood, in direct contrast to the grisly plans they have for the prisoner. This is not a pretty story and it does not exactly feature the people of Mississippi in a flattering light. Brown must have had a silver tongue to convince so many locals to play in the film, when one considers how they are portrayed. After many years of seeing stereotyped blacks on screen, Hernandez's role was a revelation as he stood up to the charges with pride and dignity. Patterson [as Miss Habersham] is equally marvelous in one of the finest roles in her lengthy career."