Movie Night Monday

The Movie Project

Week 24: Mississippi (Mississippi Burning)

Category: Drama/Thriller

Quote of Interest:

“Hatred isn’t something you’re born with. It gets taught.”

–Mrs. Pell

Three words to describe this film/state: Legion of Hate

Best ‘Extras’:

  • Pecan Vendor, played by Jesse Merle Speaks
  • Angry Reporter on Bridge (uncredited), played by W. Mitchell Morgan

State food/recipe to try: Soul food / Mississippi Catfish and Hushpuppies / Bloody Marys with Cathead Vodka

Earring Inspo Character: Mrs. Pell

Other Notes: This brutally powerful film is classified as a drama/thriller but is actually inspired by real events. We didn’t know that going in (don’t remember that info being in the intro). It makes me a little crazy when a movie that’s based on actual happenings takes full-on creative license with fact-changing–for example, who told where the bodies were buried. We don’t know anything about ‘Mr. X’ except that he was a Klan informant who was paid $30K. There were no African-American FBI agents in those days, either. The Bureau was dramatically portrayed as the heroes who wrapped things up nicely and neatly, when in reality, Mississippi Justice Department lead prosecutor John Doar was possibly more instrumental in the trial that ultimately convicted 7 of 15 defendants, none of whom served more than 10 years. English director Alan Parker’s justification for such fabrications was to reach a wider audience with the film. I suppose in the movie production world, ‘inspired by’ and ‘based on’ are two entirely different things. Ironically, the actual events took place near Philadelphia (city of ‘brotherly love’), Mississippi. June 21st marks the 55th anniversary of the 3 murders, ones that captured the nation’s attention in such a way as to effect the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The movie had 24 nominations and 17 wins, including the Oscar for Best Cinematography.

And another thing: trumpet-pitcher flowers don’t look like that but are indeed found in that part of the country. Those white flowers were probably some kind of allium. Why lie about it? Come ON!

Trumpet pitcher and gecko resident (or victim??)

Grade: B+

State Facts:

Next up: Missouri (Winter’s Bone). Follow along to discuss! Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.