Cross of Fire DVD NEW

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Cross of Fire

David ‘D C’ Stephenson was a charismatic force in his community and as a Ku Klux Klan leader in 1920s America, he also spread the prejudice and hatred that terrorised a nation – until he was daringly brought to trial.

In the early 1920s, David ‘D C’ Stephenson was one of the most powerful – and corrupt - men in the USA. He was ‘Grand Dragon’ of the Indiana Ku Klux Klan, controlled The Fiery Cross, the Klan’s influential newspaper, had many well-connected political friends (including, he claimed, the American President) and had his own private police force.

His reign of terror ended on 16 November 1925 when he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the abduction and rape of Madge Oberholtzer, a socially conscious woman who campaigned against illiteracy and for whom Stephenson had developed a dangerous obsession.

It was a crime of exceptional brutality: Oberholtzer had been bitten so many times by Stephenson that one witness who saw her body described her as having been “chewed by a cannibal”. But Madge’s death had not been in vain: not only was Stephenson sentenced to 31 years in jail, but his prosecution helped to bring about a dramatic loss of support for the Ku Klux Klan.

Compelling and disturbing, CROSS OF FIRE traces Stephenson’s rise and fall from the Prohibition years to his conviction. A charismatic, persuasive public speaker, Stephenson fully exploits the social unrest and xenophobia fermenting in the US after World War I and rises from obscurity to become a powerful political force and leading light of the KKK.

But then he meets Madge Oberholtzer. He develops a desperate passion for this striking and spirited woman and pursues her relentlessly. When she rebuffs him, his retaliation is brutal.

As Madge lies dying after her ordeal, two men swear to bring the seemingly untouchable Stephenson to justice: Madge’s friend Carl Hendry, the local Assistant Prosecutor, and Boyd Gurley, a crusading reporter, who will go on to win the Pulitzer Prize for his work.

CROSS OF FIRE stars JOHN HEARD (The Sopranos) as Stephenson, MEL HARRIS (thirtysomething) as Madge, DAVID MORSE (Proof of Life) as Hendry and GEORGE DZUNDZA (The Deer Hunter) as Gurley.

Veteran Hollywood star LLOYD BRIDGES (Airplane!) has an uncredited role as the hotshot lawyer hired to defend Stephenson.

CROSS OF FIRE won an Emmy Award® for Outstanding Sound Mixing. It is written by ROBERT CRAIS (Emmy® nominee for his work on Hill Street Blues) and directed by PAUL WENDKOS (Emmy® nominee for The Taking of Flight 847).

Certificate: 15 Length: 103 mins approx
Cast: John Heard, Mel Harris, Lloyd Bridges, George Dzundza, David Morse