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Murder in Coweta County
IMDB Rating: 7.7/10 from N/A votes
Release: 15 Feb 1983 /

Murder in Coweta County

Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Gary Nelson,
Stars: ,
Synopsis: In 1948, in rural Georgia, Coweta County is watched over by its legendary, indomitable Sheriff Lamar Potts (Johnny Cash). No felony had ever gone unsolved while Sheriff Potts was in charge....

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Critic Reviews

As a true crime buff I found this film a profoundly compelling story and one in which, considering the racial attitudes of the place and era, the testimony of two black men actually convicted a white and powerful land baron of murder. One of the two principal characters which are the centerpiece of this film is Andy Griffith who gives an outstanding performance as the self assured and dubious law abiding Christian John Wallace, owner of a great land empire located in Meriwether County of rural Georgia. The other is the late and legendary country western singer Johnny Cash as the fearless incorruptible southern sheriff Lamar Potts with a true craving for the principle of natural justice. When tenant farmer Wilson Turner steals one of Wallace's prized dairy cows the latter, along with three cronies, decide to enact their own justice on the perpetrator. They pursue Turner in a car chase across the county line into neighboring Coweta where Wallace corners Turner at a roadside cafe and viciously and fatally bludgeons him on the head with the butt of a gun. The witnessed crime comes under the jurisdiction of Coweta County sheriff Potts who after intensive investigation arrests Wallace and the others.

In the meantime Wallace with the coerced help of two of his black farm workers have already disposed of Turner's body by burning it and scattering the ashes in a nearby river. Confidently believing he has got away with murder because no body can be found Wallace and his cohorts are sent to trial but Potts and his lawmen have turned up evidence of bone fragments in ash deposits at the crime site and the accused are duly convicted and sentenced. Potts also shows his relentless pursuing of others involved in the crime by arresting Meriwether County Sheriff Hardy Collier as an accessory after the fact. Griffith and Cash couldn't have been more perfect choices for this film in their respective roles. The former, I have always been used to seeing as the smiling friendly character of "The Andy Griffith Show" and many other films, but whose great acting talents in this instance show he can play just as well the evil, corrupt and reprehensible individual at the expense of his popular image. Cash for his part as the slow southern drawl talking lawman demonstrates his capacity as a serious and capable actor in addition to his already established singing talents. I am led to believe he was chosen for this part because he resembled the original Lamar Potts. This is a film which deserves a greater audience than it has got and shows that with truth and honor justice can prevail for all as equals.

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