The Thin Blue Line [VHS]
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Classic documentary from director Errol Morris. In 1976 the brutal murder of a Dallas policeman resulted in the arrest of David Harris, a sixteen-year-old who had been bragging about the killing. But when Harris changed his story and identified drifter Randall Adams as the murderer, it was Adams who was convicted and sentenced to death. Reconstructing the murder with film clips, photographs, re-enactments and interviews, this film brings that verdict into question.
This landmark award-winning documentary, which revolutionised the form and helped acquit an innocent man of murder, came about almost by accident. Errol Morris had already directed such offbeat documentaries as Gates of Heaven (concerning pet cemeteries) and Vernon, Florida, which touchingly portrays the small town's eccentric inhabitants. He'd intended to travel to Texas to make a film about the criminal-psychiatry expert James Grigson, or "Dr. Death" as he came to be known for his frequent testimony against defendants, who were often then sent to death row. When Morris discovered that the doctor was involved in the trial of Randall Dale Adams, a man who, it seemed, had been falsely accused of the highway murder of a police officer, he decided that Adams's story was the real one to tell. Morris' innovative use of repeated dramatisation, multiple points of view, talking-head and phone interviews, and symbolism--in concert with Philip Glass's haunting music--establishes that a combination of communitarian zeal and overly eager testimony persuaded the jury to find Adams, a "drifter" from the Midwest, guilty of the crime, instead of his underage (and, for the death penalty, ineligible) acquaintance, David Harris, who had a criminal record. The "thin blue line" of police officers separating the public from chaos--as the judge, quoting the DA in the case, has it--destabilises in Morris's world and puts people at risk of injustice as often as it protects them. After serving time for a sentence commuted to life imprisonment, Adams was freed, making Errol Morris his most talented advocate. --Robert Burns Neveldine, Amazon.com
Top Customer Reviews
I could not help noticing (to my surprise)that thus far this is the only review of what is a truly great movie. I would like to point out that I am not Errol Morris, his wife if he has one, nor a relative or close friend of his.
The very fact that is makes you want it to have in blu ray (at least me), is enough to tell you how good it is also cinematographically speaking
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great film, I would highly recommend. Erroll Morris is widely considered one of the best documentary filmmakers of this generation. This filmed changed lives, laws, film... Read morePublished on 21 April 2012 by lukas
This DVD is of a VHS released in 1988, Randall Adams was released from prison less than 24 months after this documentary was made, almost wholly due to the making of this... Read morePublished on 16 Aug. 2007 by Numb de Plum