George Wallace: Settin' the Woods On Fire

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Daniel McCabe and Paul Steckler direct this scrupulously-balanced and exhaustively-researched documentary on reactionary Alabaman firebrand George Wallace. The film opens with the outset of Wallace's public career, when -- surprisingly -- he had a reputation of being progressive in regards to race. After a bruising defeat in a 1958 gubernatorial election in which his fire-breathing racist rival John Patterson painted him as something terrifyingly close to being a liberal, Wallace vowed to be seen as soft on race. In 1962, Wallace was swept into office promising "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever." In spite of this confrontational stance and his outspoken opposition to the NAACP, Wallace was, as McCabe and Steckler argue, genuinely furious over the brutal violence against civil rights activists -- if only because it made Alabama look bad. Of course, it was this very violence that eventually gave him a national platform. By the 1968 presidential election, George Wallace garnered 46 electoral votes as a third party candidate, nearly forcing the race into the House of Representatives. For the 1972 race, he was a serious presidential contender, this time for the Democrats, before he was crippled by an assassin's bullet. After being wounded, Wallace claimed that he had found God, and he abandoned his politics of hate.


Randy Quaid
as Narrator

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