Macon County Line

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Macon County Line
Directed by Richard Compton
Produced by Max Baer, Jr.
Roger Camras (executive producer)
Richard Franchot (associate producer)
Written by Max Baer, Jr.
Richard Compton
Starring Alan Vint
Jesse Vint
Cheryl Waters
Max Baer, Jr.
Geoffrey Lewis
Joan Blackman
Leif Garrett
James Gammon
Music by Stu Phillips
Cinematography Daniel Lacambre
Edited by Tina Hirsch
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release date(s) August 8, 1974
Running time 89 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $225,000
Box office $18,800,000[1]

Macon County Line is 1974 American independent film directed by Richard Compton and produced by Max Baer, Jr. Both Baer and Compton also wrote the film, and Baer stars as a vengeful county sheriff out for blood after his wife is brutally killed by a pair of drifters.

The $225,000 film reportedly became the single most profitable film of 1974 (in cost-to-gross ratio) earning over $30 million at the box office.[2][3]

The film is docudrama in tone and although it was presented as "a true story" to attract a wider audience (much like the Hollywood revisionist film Walking Tall, released a year earlier), its plotline is entirely fictional.[4]

Plot[edit]

In 1954 Macon County,Georgia, brothers Chris (Alan Vint) and Wayne Dixon (Jesse Vint), are on a two-week spree of cheap thrills throughout the South before their upcoming stint in the Air Force. Both Chicago transplants, Wayne applied for service when his brother Chris was given the option of military service or prison as the result of an earlier episode with the law. Driving through Louisiana, the brothers pick up hitchhiker Jenny Scott (Cheryl Waters), a pretty blond with a shady backstory that she would rather not discuss.

Meanwhile, local backwater town sheriff Reed Morgan (Max Baer, Jr.) is preparing to bring back his son Luke (Lief Garrett) from military school - hunting season is tomorrow and he buys Luke a new shotgun. While Chris, Jenny, and Wayne cruise through the back roads of Louisiana, they have car trouble and they stall out in Sherriff Morgan's town. Unable to repair the car, they shake together enough money to get it patched up by garage owner Hamp (Geoffrey Lewis). Waiting at the garage, they are informally threatened by Morgan, who points out that they could be picked up for vagrancy if they decided to stick around. Not interested in official trouble, the brothers and Jenny head out once their car is running. But another breakdown – this time nearby a fresh crime scene that includes a rape and murder by two men who are thought to have killed a cop – puts the trio into a lethal situation with Morgan, with a devastating finale for all.

Production notes[edit]

While the poster advertising for the film included the tagline: “It shouldn't have happened. It couldn't have happened. But it did,” and the title card states that the film is a true story (and several reviewers have stated the same), director Richard Compton and producer Max Baer have pointed out that they wrote the original story themselves without any basis in actual events.[5][6] The film is one of several so-called “drive-in” films that were presented as true stories (1972’s Walking Tall and The Legend of Boggy Creek; 1973’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and 1976’s The Town That Dreaded Sundown) when most, if not all, of what was portrayed on screen was outright fiction.

Alan Vint and Jesse Vint, who played brothers Chris and Wayne Dixon onscreen, are brothers themselves.

Home video releases[edit]

Anchor Bay released the film on both VHS and DVD in February 2000. The Anchor Bay DVD release included an audio commentary with director Richard Compton and the featurette, Macon County Line – 25 Years Down the Road. Both the VHS and DVD have been out of print since 2007.

The Warner Home Video DVD was issued on May 6, 2008. It uses the same transfer from the 2000 DVD release and is single-layered including subtitles - with no extra features of any kind.[7][8]

Legacy[edit]

Richard Compton directed the film Return to Macon County, released theatrically in 1975. Despite its title, the film is not a sequel, although it loosely follows a similar plot of mistaken identity.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Macon County Line, Box Office Information. The Numbers. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  2. ^ DVDTalk.com Macon County Line Review by Paul Mavis
  3. ^ Mavis, Paul (6 May 2008). "Macon County Line: Review". Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Richard Compton (2000). Macon County Line (1973) (DVD). Anchor Bay. 
  5. ^ Richard Compton (2000). Macon County Line (1973) (DVD). Anchor Bay. 
  6. ^ James Newman. "Macon County Line", imagesjournal.com. Retrieved on 2008-06-29.
  7. ^ James Newman. "Macon County Line", imagesjournal.com. Retrieved on 2008-06-29.
  8. ^ Mavis, Paul (6 May 2008). "Macon County Line: Review". Retrieved 23 May 2012. 

External links[edit]