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teaser ...tick...tick...tick... (1970)

Racial tensions become a powder keg waiting to go off in the 1970 MGM film ...Tick... Tick... Tick. A newly elected black sheriff (Jim Brown) in a small southern town faces a difficult transfer of power with the help of a retiring lawman (George Kennedy) and the town's mayor (Fredric March). The new sheriff's authority is soon put to the test when he arrests the son of a wealthy white businessman for a drunk driving accident that killed a small child.

...Tick...Tick...Tick followed the wave of race movies in the late 60's and early 70's epitomized by such films as Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night (both 1967). An interesting product of its era, ...Tick...Tick...Tick offered new opportunities to an emerging group of black actors like football-player-turned-actor Jim Brown as well as screen veterans like two-time Academy Award winner Fredric March.

Without a doubt, ...Tick...Tick...Tick is one of George Kennedy's finest performances. As a public official who has just been replaced by a man of less experience, Kennedy generates enormous sympathy for his plight. Battling self-pity and enduring the insults of his former constituents, Kennedy puts aside his own insecurities and follows the moral dictates of his conscience. It's one of the few roles where Kennedy is allowed to explore a character who is demoralized, socially awkward, and even foolish at times.

The other key roles are also well cast. Jim Brown, who had previously appeared with Kennedy in The Dirty Dozen (1967), was born in Georgia and raised on Long Island. He attended Syracuse University where he was recruited to play for the Cleveland Browns in 1957. During his years in the NFL, Brown was named Rookie of the Year, Player of the Year and eventually inducted into the Football Hall of Fame. He made his film debut while still with the Browns in 1963's Rio Conchos. Other notable roles would follow, including turns in Ice Station Zebra (1968) and 100 Rifles (1969). Most recently Brown combined his two careers appearing as a football coach in Any Given Sunday (1999).

Fredric March had a long and well respected career behind him by the time ...Tick...Tick...Tick came along. March's career began in the 20's with movies like The Wild Party (1929). Though he initially set out to become a banker, March made his way in Hollywood quickly, receiving his first Academy Award nomination in 1930 for The Royal Family of Broadway and winning his first Best Actor Oscar® the next year for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. ...Tick...Tick...Tick would be March's second to last film. His last film, The Iceman Cometh ended his forty plus years career in 1973.

Director: Ralph Nelson
Producer: James Lee Barrett, Ralph Nelson
Screenplay: James Lee Barrett
Cinematography: Loyal Griggs
Art Direction: George W. Davis, William Glasgow
Music: Jerry Styner
Cast: Jim Brown (Jimmy Prince), George Kennedy (John Little), Fredric March (Mayor Jeff Parks), Lynn Carlin (Julia Little), Don Stroud (Bengy Springer), Clifton James (O.J. Rankin).
C-97m. Letterboxed.

by Stephanie Thames

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