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The Murder of Mary Phagan

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Genre  Crime Drama History
Network  NBC
Country  United States
7.4/10 IMDb

Director  William Hale
Running time  4h 11m
Language  English
The Murder of Mary Phagan movie poster
Writer  Jeffrey Lane, George Stevens Jr.
Release date  January 24, 1988
Episodes  1 Episode 1Season 1 - Jan 24 - 1988, 1 Episode 1, 1 Episode 1Season 1 - Jan 24 - 1988, 1 Episode 1
Cast  Jack Lemmon (Gov. John Slaton), Richard Jordan (Hugh Dorsey), Robert Prosky (Tom Watson), Peter Gallagher (Leo Frank), Kathryn Walker (Sally Slaton), Rebecca Miller (Lucille Frank)
Similar movies  Dancer in the Dark, The Secret Life of Words, Gung Ho, The Promised Land, Siddharth, Factory B

The murder of mary phagan january 26 1988 commercial break 2 edited

The Murder of Mary Phagan, a 1988 two-part American TV miniseries written by Larry McMurtry, produced by George Stevens, Jr., directed by William "Billy" Hale, starring Jack Lemmon and Kevin Spacey, made by Orion Pictures Corporation, and distributed by National Broadcasting Company (NBC), is a dramatization of the story of Leo Frank, a factory manager charged with and convicted of murdering a 13-year-old girl, a factory worker named Mary Phagan, in Atlanta in 1913. The trial was sensational and controversial. After Frank's legal appeals had failed, the governor of Georgia in 1915 commuted his death sentence to life imprisonment, destroying his own career in the process. In 1915 Frank was kidnapped from prison and lynched by a small group of prominent men of Marietta, Georgia. In addition to Lemmon and Spacey, the film features Rebecca Miller, Peter Gallagher, Charles Dutton, Richard Jordan, Cynthia Nixon, Dylan Baker and William H. Macy. Lemmon noted during a publicity appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson shortly before the miniseries was broadcast that the cast was the best with which he had ever worked.


The Murder of Mary Phagan wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners9292497p929249

The film was shot in Richmond, Virginia, extensively in Shockoe Bottom, with a running time of 251 minutes (over 4 hours), originally broadcast over two evenings.


The film won the 1988 Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries.


  • Jack Lemmon as Gov. John Slaton
  • Richard Jordan as Hugh Dorsey
  • Robert Prosky as Tom Watson
  • Peter Gallagher as Leo Frank
  • Kathryn Walker as Sally Slaton
  • Rebecca Miller as Lucille Frank
  • Paul Dooley as William Burns
  • Charles Dutton as Jim Conley
  • Kevin Spacey as Wes Brent
  • Cynthia Nixon as Doreen
  • Dylan Baker as the Governor's Assistant
  • William H. Macy as Randy (credited as W.H. Macy)
  • Kaye Lazar as Jurist (unbilled)
  • William Newman
  • Russell Murray as Militia Guard (unbilled)
  • Other treatments

    An earlier movie version of the case, with the names changed, was directed by Mervyn LeRoy in 1937 and called They Won't Forget, starring Claude Rains and Lana Turner.

    In 1997, David Mamet published a book about Leo Frank called The Old Religion. The following year a Broadway musical called Parade, written by the playwright Alfred Uhry, with music composed by Jason Robert Brown was produced.

    In 2004 the journalist Steve Oney published his history of the Mary Phagan case, entitled And the Dead Shall Rise. The trial and Frank's lynching have also been explored in works of academic history.


    The Murder of Mary Phagan Wikipedia
    The Murder of Mary Phagan IMDb The Murder of Mary Phagan