“ Genre: Documentary - History / Theatrical Release: 1988 / Director: Errol Morris / Actors: Randall Adams, David Harris (III) ... / DVD released 26 July, 2005 at MGM / Features of the DVD: Closed-captioned, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC „
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This in an award winning history-altering documentary about a cop that was killed in 1976 in Dallas. Documentary film maker and would be private detective Errol Morris set out to make a relatively simple film about a murder that took place in cold blood. But what actually happens is that he unravels the story of a very likeable and amusing man who has been in the nick for more than 12 years for a murder he cannot understand let alone have committed it. The basic plot of the story is that on 27 November 1976 a hitchhiker Randall Adams aged 27 was picked up by David Harris aged 16, in a stolen Mercedes. A few hours later a cop car stops the Merc, and officer Robert Wood was shot dead five times. Adams claims he was home in bed at the time watched the television. But the following day Harris supposedly boasted to his friends that he had killed the cop. Harris is picked up by the police but he then shifts the blame onto Adams, his story is backed up by 2 eyewitnesses, who were well known liars. Subsequently Randell Adams was sentenced to death his execution was set for May 1979 he was destined to be killed by a lethal injection. Before all of this Adams had no police record whats so ever, where as Harris had a record as long his arm, Harris was set free only later to kill Mark Walter Mays. Harris was then sentenced to death. On death row Harris admitted to Errol Morris that Adams was innocent. Ten months after the film was shown Adam was still serving a life sentence. But luckily since then Adams has finally been released. If it wasn't for Errol Morris Adams would probably still be on death row.
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