Macon County Line
|Macon County Line|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Compton|
|Produced by||Max Baer, Jr.
|Written by||Max Baer, Jr.
Max Baer, Jr.
|Music by||Stu Phillips|
|Edited by||Tina Hirsch|
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|Box office||$30 million|
Macon County Line is a 1974 American independent film directed by Richard Compton and produced by Max Baer, Jr. Baer and Compton also co-wrote the film, in which Baer stars as a vengeful county sheriff in Alabama out for blood after his wife is brutally killed by a pair of drifters.
The film is docudrama in tone. Although it was presented as "a true story" to attract a wider audience (much like the Hollywood revisionist film Walking Tall of 1973), its plot and characters are entirely fictional.
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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. A pair of 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 (Baer) is preparing to bring back his son Luke (Leif Garrett) from military school. Hunting season begins the next day and he buys Luke a new shotgun. While Chris, Jenny, and Wayne cruise through the back roads of Louisiana, they have car trouble. 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 says they could be picked up for vagrancy if they decided to stick around. Not interested in trouble, the brothers and Jenny head out once their car is running. But another breakdown – this time near a fresh crime scene of a rape and murder of Morgan's wife by two men who also have killed a cop – puts the trio into a lethal situation with Morgan. There is a devastating finale for all.
While the poster advertising the film included the tagline “It shouldn't have happened. It couldn't have happened. But it did,” and the title card states that it is a true story (and several reviewers have stated the same), director Richard Compton and producer Max Baer have said that they wrote the original story without any basis in historic events. The film is one of several so-called “drive-in” films that were presented as true stories (à la 1972's The Legend of Boggy Creek; 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; and 1976's Jackson County Jail and The Town That Dreaded Sundown). In each case, most, if not all, of what was portrayed on screen was fictional -with the exception of "The Town That Dreaded Sundown", which is inspired by the Phantom Killer murders in Texarkana, Texas, in 1946.
Alan Vint and Jesse Vint, who played brothers Chris and Wayne Dixon onscreen, are brothers.
The film earned $10 million in rentals in North America.
Home video releases
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.
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.
- Mavis, Paul (6 May 2008). "DVDTalk.com Macon County Line Review". Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- Macon County Line, Box Office Information. The Numbers. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Richard Compton (2000). Macon County Line (1973) (DVD). Anchor Bay.
- James Newman. "Macon County Line", imagesjournal.com. Retrieved on 2008-06-29.
- "All-time Film Rental Champs", Variety, 7 January 1976 p 44
- Mavis, Paul (6 May 2008). "Macon County Line: Review". Retrieved 23 May 2012.