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The Five Best Movies Set in the Deep South

13:08 June 29, 2020
By: Staff

From the black-and-white glory days of Hollywood to the cutting-edge cinema of modern times, the Deep South has been featured in an array of movies over the years. Here are five of the very best, which, if you haven't seen them, you should definitely check out. And even if you have already seen these fantastic films, it's probably about time you watched them again.

5. Undertow

Although this 2004 movie received mixed responses from audiences, few directors have caught the poetic beauty and decaying landscape of the Deep South like director David Gordon Green. As with his first two films, Green explores the natural landscape in artistic detail and shows how deeply it connects with the film's characters. Set in Georgia, Undertow's story follows two brothers who spend their days working hard on a shabby farmstead. One day, their sinister uncle turns up out of the blue, believing that their father is hiding some precious and semi-mythic gold coins. This psychological thriller perfectly merges realism and surrealism. And it takes in plenty of sights from around Georgia.

4. Down by Law

The multi-talented Jim Jarmusch wrote and directed this mesmerizing neo-noir 1986 movie, and it's one of the independent filmmaker's finest. Shot in black and white and starring John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, and musician extraordinaire Tom Waits, Down by Law centers on the arrest, imprisonment, and escape of three men in Louisiana. Rather than focusing on the mechanics of the escape, like most jailbreak movies, this film focuses on the interaction between the convicts. Their escape sees the three prisoners traveling through the Louisiana bayou and surrounded by the architecture of New Orleans, which is beautifully caught via cinematographer Robby Müller's slow-moving camerawork. However, you won't come across the merriment of New Orleans Mardi Gras in this movie. But you could always play the Carnival Queen slot game instead, which is based on the famous Mardi Gras. The excellent Carnival Queen slot can be found at Casumo online casino.

3. Carmen Jones

Although this 1954 movie begins in North Carolina and ends in Chicago, the most famous song and dance numbers occur in Louisiana. Carmen Jones is a remarkable accomplishment. Based on George Bizet's famous 19th-century opera Carmen, this all-black production from producer and director Otto Preminger showcases many African American actors who were unable to get work in Hollywood at the time. Carmen Jones stars Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte. Notably, Dandridge became the first-ever African American woman to be nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards.

2. In the Heat of the Night

Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the classic movie In the Heat of the Night is every bit as good today as it was upon its release in 1967. The mystery drama, which is based on a novel by John Ball, follows black police detective Virgil Tibbs, played by the charismatic Sidney Poitier. The Philadelphia cop becomes involved with a murder investigation in a small Mississippi town, but Tibbs must tackle the racism he encounters as much as the case in hand. The movie captures the stagnant racial prejudices of many Deep South attitudes of the 1960s. Combining sensitive issues with a rollercoaster thriller has never been done better than in the brilliant In the Heat of the Night movie.

1. A Streetcar Named Desire

This 1951 movie catapulted a largely unknown Marlon Brando to significant fame and secured his place as one of the most captivating and innovative actors in Hollywood. A Streetcar Named Desire earned Brando an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. The film is worth seeing for Brando's performance alone, but there's much more to this classic movie than great performances. Adapted from Tennessee Williams's Pulitzer Prize-winning play by the same name, A Streetcar Named Desire tells the story of the melodramatic southern belle Blanche DuBois, who seeks refuge with her sister and brother-in-law in a decrepit New Orleans apartment block after leaving her aristocratic background behind. No other film depicts the squalor and claustrophobic nature of New Orleans slum areas as well as this movie. There are some upsetting scenes, for sure. But A Streetcar Named Desire is undoubtedly a masterpiece.

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