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Film / Hurry Sundown

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Hurry Sundown is a 1967 American drama film produced and directed by Otto Preminger, starring Jane Fonda and Michael Caine. The screenplay by Horton Foote and Thomas C. Ryan is based on the 1965 novel of the same title by K.B. Gilden.note 

In 1946, the bigoted and gold-digging Henry Warren (Caine) and his wife, heiress and land-owner Julie Ann (Fonda), are determined to sell their land in rural Georgia to owners of a northern canning plant, but the deal rests on selling two adjoining plots as well: one owned by Henry's cousin Rad McDowell (John Phillip Law), the other by black farmer Reeve Scott (Robert Hooks), whose ailing mother Rose (Beah Richards) had been Julie's wet nurse. Neither farmer is interested in selling his land, which results in their entering into a dangerous and controversial interracial partnership to strengthen their legal claim to their land. This naturally infuriates Henry, who is prepared to do anything to fulfill his wishes.

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The film marked Faye Dunaway's film debut, playing Rad's wife Lou.note  Diahann Carroll plays Vivian Thurlow, the local black schooteacher who helps Reeve prove ownership of his property when Henry challenges its legality. George Kennedy and Burgess Meredith appear as Sheriff Coombs and Judge Purcell respectively.


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This film features examples of:

  • Death of a Child: Henry dynamites the levee above the farms, and Rad's oldest child drowns in the ensuing flood, much to Henry's dismay.
  • Deep South: The film is set in Georgia in 1946, with all the racial tensions that implies.
  • Draft Dodging: Henry is established as having done this during the recent war.
  • Gold Digger: Henry married with the heiress, land-owning Julie Ann for her wealth.
  • The Klan: They show up to help Henry dynamite the levee above the disputed lands to flood and ruin them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Henry is visibly dismayed when the flood he engineered causes Rad's oldest child to drown.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Julie Ann eventually gets fed up with Henry, being especially upset with Henry's treatment of their mentally-challenged young son, and decides to leave him and drop her suit against Reeve.

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