Nation Aflame (1937)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama  |   Run Time - 70 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Produced by the Halperin Brothers, the folks responsible for the early-talkie horror classic White Zombie, Nation Aflame is one of several 1930s exposés of such hate groups as the KKK, the Silver Shirts and the Black Legion. The bigoted aggregation depicted in this film, a fictional group called the Avenging Angels, is shown to be just another racket, controlled by big-city mobsters for their own financial gain. The principal villain is gangster Sandino (Noel Madison), who has the state's governor (Harry Holman) in his pocket, along with several other political leaders. When the governor rebels against his corrupt colleagues, Sandino orders his assassination, prompting the governor's daughter Wynne (Norma Trelvar) to team with her former fiance, crusading DA Burtis (Roger Williams) to arrange a frame to discredit Sandino and his ilk. She lures the crooks into a drunken orgy, whereupon Burtis' lieutenants break down the doors and arrest everyone in the joint. The DA destroys the Avenging Angels and their hooligans once and for all, which proves immensely beneficial to his career. Alas, poor Wynne cannot share the fruits of his victory -- she is, after all, a "fallen woman" (remember that this was 1937, not 1997!) Incredibly, Nation Aflame was ostensibly based on a story by Thomas Dixon, the virulently racist author of such pro-KKK, anti-black literature as The Clansman and The Leopard's Spots; if the film was indeed a faithful adaptation of a Dixon original, it would have represented a complete 180-degree shift in his own political beliefs.

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Keywords

Civil-Rights, con/scam, corruption, government, mastermind, secret-society, terrorism