|…tick… tick… tick… (1970)|
|Writers:||James Lee Barrett|
|Starring:||Jim Brown, George Kennedy, and Fredric March|
|The Plot: In a small southern county during the midst of the civil rights movement, trouble begins to brew. Jim Price (Jim Brown) is a well educated black man who is encouraged to run for sheriff by a group of civil rights activists. When he actually manages to win, due to the dense population of African Americans, he faces a new and more dangerous hurdle. The local white population, who aren’t accustomed to seeing a black man in power, aren’t willing to give up such a position without a fight. Price must continually deal with the threat of violence on a daily basis, and must also hire a all new police department with a new set of deputies. Amongst the locals affected by Jim Price’s recent election is the previous sheriff himself, John Little (George Kennedy). Little, who respects the law and doesn’t share the same racist sentiments of his friends and neighbors, finds himself confronting his own bitterness. He feels bad for Price and realizes that this man is looking at a danger that seems insurmountable. When a young teenager from out of town runs down a little girl and kills her in cold blood, Price is dealt a tough hand as he must arrest a white man who just happens to have a very powerful father. With the tension brewing, this small southern town is only days away from exploding.|
The rest of the cast are all very solid in their roles, but its the dynamic between Jim Brown and George Kennedy that holds the true power of the entire film. Although the film could be seen as being naive to a fault, and I’ll get to that shortly, I think there are many moments throughout the movie that seem to capture a great deal of truth. George Kennedy’s character of John is the second main “hero” within the story and his role is far from conventional for a title such as this one. He plays a man who is as every bit a “good ol’ boy” as the rest of his hate-filled constituents, but he is a man who is battling his own ways. Throughout the movie we hear his wife use racially derogatory terms for Jim Price (Jim Brown), we see his family being harassed for what is seen to be cow-towing to a black man and we watch this character endure his own inner torment at being bested in the election for a new sheriff. In the earliest scenes of the movie we watch as John prepares for his last day as sheriff. We hear him discuss with his wife how he plans on showing the new sheriff around the office, showing him where the files go and giving him the main tour, but when the time comes and he looks into this black man’s eyes he finds himself unable to do anything but walk out. Despite being a good man on the inside, he can’t put away his own prejudices and he must then come face to face with his own weaknesses. The majority of the picture, from John’s point of view, finds himself battling with this weakness and shows him trying to become the man he thinks that he has always been.