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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
The Summer of Ben Tyler
Directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman
Artisan Entertainment 12/96 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG - thematic elements, brief language
The Summer of Ben Tyler offers an engaging story about a husband and wife in a small Southern town during World War II who are firm believers in conscience, responsibility, and doing the right thing. This doesn't make them stodgy or self-righteous, just odd.
Mrs. Rayburn (Elizabeth McGovern) tells her lawyer husband Temple (James Woods), "When you're a trifle odd, you can get away with a lot and it makes you feel downright sorry for ordinary folks."
When the Rayburn's black housekeeper dies, they take in her son Ben (Charles Mattocks), much to the shock of the townsfolk. Despite pressure from the powerful mill owner who is backing Temple for State Senator, they refuse to back down. Over the summer, Temple and Ben become close friends and he is deeply moved by the young black man's moral fiber. The lawyer's own principles are further challenged when he is called upon to defend the industrialist's son in an automobile accident that killed an old black lady.
The Summer of Ben Tyler is directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman from a screenplay by Robert Inman. This engaging drama offers a substantive meditation upon Aristotle's ancient bit of wisdom, "The high-minded person must care more for the truth than what people think."
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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