- Lee J. Cobb
- Anthony Zerbe
- Roscoe Lee Browne
- Lola Falana
- Lee Majors
- Barbara Hershey
- Yaphet Kotto
L.B. Jones is a well-to-do African-American funeral director who comes to Oman Hedgepath's firm in search of legal representation. Jones wishes to divorce his young wife Emma, but his grounds make the case a hot news-Jones has learned Emma has been having an affair with Willie Joe Worth, a white police officer who is the father of Emma's unborn child. Hedgepath fearing that the revelations of a public divorce trial will rock the race conscious town. He has a private conversation with Worth, hoping to settle the matter quietly out of court. In doing so, Hedgepath ignites a course of events more devastating than any divorce trial could have produced. Worth does not want his affair dragged into a court of law, so he and his fellow officer Stanley Bumpas violently take matters into their own hands.
Like fellow ‘old school’ filmmaker John Huston, director William Wyler proves himself up to delivering on the promise of a more open New Hollywood with this scorching look at racism and hypocrisy in a small Southern town. Roscoe Lee Browne throws off sparks as rich, black undertaker, L.B. Jones, a man cuckolded by an amoral wife (an incandescent Lola Falana) and one of the town’s meanest white cops (Anthony Zerbe). When Jones decides he wants a divorce, he suddenly finds himself taking the brunt of escalating harassment from Zerbe, who wants to keep his affair with a black woman a secret. Lee J. Cobb is the town’s D.A., a ‘decent’ man with an ingrained streak of racism. Barbara Hershey is Cobb’s daughter and Lee Majors, her idealistic lawyer husband. With a superb Yaphet Kotto as an angry fugitive with his own axe to grind. Sterling Silliphant and Jesse Hill Ford wrote the screenplay (from Ford’s novel). A surprisingly unflinching, tell-it-like-is movie.
Provided by Cinnemageddon user DJE thru Funkback
Link to soundtrack review
Elmer Bernstein - The Liberation Of L.B. Jones (1970)