On Sat., March 4 Asbury Park’s Mayor Emeritus Ed Johnson returns to the historic Stephen Crane House in Asbury Park for another in a series of free screening events in the “Lights! Camera! Politics!” film series.
The theme for Winter/Spring 2017 is “The City Never Sleeps: Politics, Influence and Corruption” — and the feature for our Saturday matinee is a tough, no-nonsense noir ripped screaming from the real-life headlines of the 1950s: The Phenix City Story.
Filmed on location in Phenix City — the Alabama town that truly earned its reputation as “Sin City USA, the Vice Capital of America” in the post-WWII era — director Phil Karlson’s 1955 crime story dramatizes the circumstances that led to the murder of a crusading state attorney (John McIntire) in his fight to clean up a community ruled by gangsters, dirty cops, drugs, gambling, prostitution and every deadly sin in the playbook. It’s a crusade that’s picked up by his son (a pre-“Man of La Mancha” Richard Kiley), who also narrates a mini-documentary (with footage of witnesses to the dramatized events) that frames the main part of the film. A cast of familiar character players features Edward Andrews and John Larch (you know them from episodes of “Twilight Zone” and many other vintage TV shows) as the bad guys, plus the great (and under-used) black actor James Edwards, and (future Mrs. Bing Crosby) Kathryn Grant.
Friend of the Crane House Ron Troppoli — attorney, public defender, and former Director of Special Prosecutions for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office — introduces the 3 p.m. presentation, with doors opening open at 2:30 pm. There’s no charge for admission (we’ll also have complimentary refreshments for our guests, as is our custom), and donations in cash or by check are welcomed for the Asbury Park Historical Society or our friends at the Asbury Park Little League.