The Liberation of L.B. Jones

Watch The Liberation of L.B. Jones

"Some of his best friends were black... some of her best friends were white."
  • R
  • 1970
  • 1 hr 42 min
  • 6.8  (1,137)

The Liberation of L.B. Jones is a 1970 drama film directed by William Wyler and starring Lee J. Cobb, Anthony Zerbe, and Roscoe Lee Browne. Set in a small town in the American South, the movie tells the story of a wealthy black man named L.B. Jones (played by Roscoe Lee Browne) who wants to divorce his white wife (Lee Chamberlin) and gain custody of their child. However, when he goes to a white lawyer named Braxton (Anthony Zerbe) for help, he is dragged into a corrupt system of racism, violence, and revenge.

The movie opens with a scene of L.B. Jones driving his car on a dark road in the countryside. Suddenly, he is stopped by a group of white men who beat him up and castrate him. The reason for this violent attack is revealed later in the film, but it sets the tone for the story and introduces the audience to the theme of racial tension and hatred that permeates the town.

The next day, L.B. Jones goes to Braxton's office and asks him to file for divorce. Braxton, who is known for his racist views, initially refuses to take the case, but changes his mind when he realizes that L.B. Jones is willing to pay him a large sum of money. Braxton also sees an opportunity to use the case to incite violence and gain political power in the town.

As the legal battle unfolds, L.B. Jones is subjected to harassment, threats, and violence from the white community. He is portrayed as a traitor to his race and an enemy of the community, and his life is constantly in danger. Meanwhile, Braxton manipulates the legal system and the media to his advantage, and uses his influence to stir up racial hatred and division.

The Liberation of L.B. Jones is a powerful and intense film that explores the themes of race, power, and justice in America. The acting is superb, and the script is well-written and engaging. The movie is also visually striking, with beautiful cinematography that captures the natural beauty of the Southern landscape.

One of the strengths of the film is its portrayal of the complex and conflicting emotions of the characters. L.B. Jones is a sympathetic character who is struggling to assert his rights and his identity in a hostile environment. Braxton is a more ambiguous figure, whose motives are driven by a lust for power and a desire to manipulate the system. The supporting cast, which includes such notable actors as Lee J. Cobb, Will Geer, and Arch Johnson, also adds depth and nuance to the story.

Another notable aspect of the film is its use of music, which ranges from blues and gospel to classical and avant-garde. The soundtrack, composed by Elmer Bernstein, is a rich and varied tapestry of sounds and styles that create a sense of atmosphere and mood.

Overall, The Liberation of L.B. Jones is a classic film that explores the complexities of race relations in America. It is a powerful and thought-provoking work that resonates with audiences today as much as it did when it was first released.

The Liberation of L.B. Jones
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 42 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (1,137)