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Storm Warning

Behind this burning cross...Behind the loopholes in the law...Behind their cowardly hoods...They hide a thousand vicious crimes!
Storm Warning
Ginger Rogers is troubled when she finds her sister's husband is a member of the KKK.

Reviews

John Chard
The KKK took my baby away, they took her away, away from me. Storm Warning is directed by Stuart Heisler and written by Richard Brooks and Daniel Fuchs. It stars Ginger Rogers, Ronald Reagan, Doris Day and Steve Cochran. Music is by Daniele Amfitheatrof and cinematography by Carl E. Guthrie. Stopping over to see her sister in Rockpoint, model Marsha Mitchell (Rogers) witness the Ku Klux Klan committing a murder and sees two of the perpetrators with their hoods off. Upon arriving at her sister's house, she is stunned to find that the beau of Lucy's (day) life is one of the killers! Should she do what is morally right? What District Attorney Burt Rainey (Reagan) wants her to do? Or should she think of her sister and keep Hank Rice (Cochran) out of prison? Lets get the big complaint out the way first. What has been written before is true, the issue of race hatred and the KKK is not dealt with, this really does soft soap that particular issue in favour of a more - less - controversial angle. Film does still portray them as cowardly murderous thugs hiding behind hoods, even portraying them as dimwits following one almighty Grand Wizard (or is it Dragon?) who is more concerned about cash than colour of skin, but trivialisation of a hot topic occurs. We are the law here. The judges and jury! So, accepting it on its own "non social issue message" terms, then it's a thoroughly engrossing piece of film noir styled melodrama. Thematic noir staples are within, with bigotry, fate, family dysfunction and a woman in peril scenario (the fox in the hen house situation is super) all bubbling away under the moral obligation surface. Laid over the top is no short amount of atmospheric style, as Heisler (Among the Living/The Glass Key) and Guthrie (Backfire/Caged) produce dank shadowed streets, misty jails and a big court room segment bathed in slatted shadows befitting the moral discord filtering around the room. Don't give me that Halloween routine. Heisler proves to have a good eye for imagery as well as technical nous, such as snaps of child Klan members or the symbolic falling of a burning cross. He also marshals his cast very well. Don't believe any review that says Rogers is miscast, she simply isn't, she's feisty, sexy and strong, yet vulnerable as well, she's perfect for the role that was originally intended for Bacall who bailed out. And with Day exuding a confused innocence that hits the right notes, Heisler's reputation as a great director of actresses holds weight here. Reagan and Cochran are fine, with Cochran veering away from his normal cool, calculated persona to offer up a characterisation we rarely saw from him. It misses a trick to really strike a dagger in the KKK scheme of things, and yes some of it feels like lower grade Tenessee Williams. However, the makers turn this Southern town into a diseased noir landscape, where the story is paced and performed with skill, and it all builds moodily to a truly great finale. Well worth seeking out. 8/10
John Chard
The KKK took my baby away, they took her away, away from me. Storm Warning is directed by Stuart Heisler and written by Richard Brooks and Daniel Fuchs. It stars Ginger Rogers, Ronald Reagan, Doris Day and Steve Cochran. Music is by Daniele Amfitheatrof and cinematography by Carl E. Guthrie. Stopping over to see her sister in Rockpoint, model Marsha Mitchell (Rogers) witnesses the Ku Klux Klan committing a murder and sees two of the perpetrators with their hoods off. Upon arriving at her sister's house, she is stunned to find that the beau of Lucy's (Day) life is one of the killers! Should she do what is morally right? What District Attorney Burt Rainey (Reagan) wants her to do? Or should she think of her sister and keep Hank Rice (Cochran) out of prison? Lets get the big complaint out the way first. What has been written before is true, the issue of race hatred and the KKK is not dealt with, this really does soft soap that particular issue in favour of a more - less - controversial angle. Film does still portray them as cowardly murderous thugs hiding behind hoods, even portraying them as dimwits following one almighty Grand Wizard (or is it Dragon?) who is more concerned about cash than colour of skin, but trivialisation of a hot topic occurs. We are the law here. The judges and jury! So, accepting it on its own "non social issue message" terms, then it's a thoroughly engrossing piece of film noir styled melodrama. Thematic noir staples are within, with bigotry, fate, family dysfunction and a woman in peril scenario (the fox in the hen house situation is super) all bubbling away under the moral obligation surface. Laid over the top is no short amount of atmospheric style, as Heisler (Among the Living/The Glass Key) and Guthrie (Backfire/Caged) produce dank shadowed streets, misty jails and a big court room segment bathed in slatted shadows befitting the moral discord filtering around the room. Don't give me that Halloween routine. Heisler proves to have a good eye for imagery as well as technical nous, such as snaps of child Klan members or the symbolic falling of a burning cross. He also marshals his cast very well. Don't believe any review that says Rogers is miscast, she simply isn't, she's feisty, sexy and strong, yet vulnerable as well, she's perfect for the role that was originally intended for Bacall who bailed out. And with Day exuding a confused innocence that hits the right notes, Heisler's reputation as a great director of actresses holds weight here. Reagan and Cochran are fine, with Cochran veering away from his normal cool, calculated persona to offer up a characterisation we rarely saw from him. It misses a trick to really strike a dagger in the KKK scheme of things, and yes some of it feels like lower grade Tennessee Williams. However, the makers turn this Southern town into a diseased noir landscape, where the story is paced and performed with skill, and it all builds moodily to a truly great finale. Well worth seeking out. 8/10

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