In 1940, Colonel Will Seaborn Effingham (Charles Coburn), a retired Army officer, returns to his home town of Fredericksville, Georgia, and is disturbed at the lack of civic pride. He ...
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In 1940, Colonel Will Seaborn Effingham (Charles Coburn), a retired Army officer, returns to his home town of Fredericksville, Georgia, and is disturbed at the lack of civic pride. He writes a letter to the editor in the local newspaper and attacks those who would do away with with traditions, especially those moving to tear down the old city hall and those who wish to rename Confederate Square after a local politician.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
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Ella Sue Dozier:
Have you a statement for the press?
Albert 'Al' Marbury:
[Mimicking the blowhard mayor]
Only that I wish to convey to our esteemed city leaders my heartfelt appreciation for this delicious barbecued pig... without which democracy as it is known in Georgia...
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Colonel Effingham's Raid: 5 out of 10: A retired Army colonel returns home and starts a fight to save the Confederate War Monument and the historic courthouse from the local corrupt politicians and an apathetic populace.
The Good: I usually hate movie reviews that view a historical piece through a modern lens and put our values unto the values of the time of the art. But good Lord almighty this is truly a litmus test of the times. Charles Coburn's colonel is bound to remind people of a certain President the way he wants to drain the swamp and bullies all those around him. In addition, we have the defense of a Confederate memorial against those one-party carpetbaggers looking to profit of a disinterested populace who have forgotten their roots.
The movie is an interesting piece partially because is such a dated piece of propaganda and partially because its message of paying attention to your local community and getting involved is kind of timeless.
The Bad: The ending feels unsatisfying and a bit truncated. It is as if they realized the movie was running too long and added a conclusion that simply isn't earned by what comes before.
The movie is also racist. This isn't as much a criticism as a statement of fact. Between the Confederate lovefest and the horrible way black characters are treated, the movie wears its overt racism on its sleeve.
The Ugly: While the racism at least fits the theme and plot of the film the bizarre sexism does not. Mainly in the form of an artificial wolf-whistle, every time the Colonel's nephew (William Eythe) looks at the society reporter's (Joan Bennett's) legs. It is distracting, strange and is out of place in this otherwise somewhat grounded movie. Honestly, it would be out of place in a Benny Hill sketch it is so over the top and juvenile.
In Conclusion: There is an interesting story buried under all the problematic racism and sexism and underdeveloped side characters. It is after all based on the very real problem of local government corruption that can happen anywhere with any political party. The movie simply commits too many sins (did I mention the random narration that pops up from William Eythe) and with a truncated tepid conclusion it leaves one unsatisfied.
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