Based on actual events, The Phenix City Story is about the rampant corruption and filth which made up a small town in Alabama more commonly known as "Sin City". Gambling, prostitution, among other things, are perfectly legal in this small town, where the organized crime runs the government. Reform groups try desperately to make changes to the town, to little avail, essentially being lambasted as vigilantes. The film's narrative centers around Albert Paterson, a prominent attorney, who refuses to take sides in the conflict. As things escalate between the conflicted parties, a tragic event along with his idealistic son, force Albert Paterson into the conflict, opting to run as Attorney General of the state of Alabama. Phil Karlson's Phenix City Story is a nasty little flick that never backs down from portraying these events in a genuine horrific light. There are scenes in this film that are down right frightening and hard to watch, as Karlson refuses to hold back. One particular scene involving a young, African american girl is down right disturbing and I doubt I will ever forget it. Karlson creates an ominous atmosphere in which no character feels safe with conflict and violence around every corner. The film's message is similar to a lot of films dealing with similar subject matters: One cannot take the law into their own hands, never cowering to the level of these monsters, rather doing things the right way. Edward Andrews gives a noteworthy performance as Rhett Tanner, a lead club owner responsible for most of the corruption. A cheerful, affable type character whose brewing with violence under the surface if anyone gets in his way. Phenix City Story is more engrossing and affecting than almost all other films with similar themes because of the fact that it doesn't shy away from showing the monstrosities. It's brutal, honest and at times heart-wrenching.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.