Facets Releasing William Friedkin’s First Film, Newly Restored, for the First Time on DVD
“Crump is economical yet flamboyantly righteous, as it should have been – the existence of the film played at least a small part in keeping Crump out of the chair.”
San Francisco Int’l Film Festival
Golden Gate Award
Before directing The French Connection, The Exorcist, and Killer Joe, William Friedkin made one of the most powerful documentaries you’ve never seen. Paul Crump, 22, was caught up in a failed robbery with four other black men and was sentenced to die in the electric chair. Friedkin so believed in Crump’s innocence that he made The People vs. Paul Crump in order to save his life.
On March 20, 1953, five men robbed a meatpacking plant in Chicago’s Union Stock Yards. Their getaway went awry, and a security guard was killed. Four of the men received jail sentences and were eventually paroled. The fifth, Paul Crump, confessed under questionable interrogation tactics, then retracted, only to be convicted and sentenced to the chair. After 14 stays of execution, local TV director William Friedkin and his cinematographer Bill Butler (Jaws) took to the streets with lightweight cameras to appeal for Crump’s return to society. The resulting film contributed to the commutation of Crump’s sentence and launched Friedkin’s Hollywood career.
William Friedkin/U.S./1962/B&W/Fullscreen 1.33:1/60 mins. All-Zone NTSC DVD
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer from an archival 16mm print (compare Restoration to Original 16mm)
- Facets Cine-Notes booklet featuring essays on Crump’s case and Friedkin’s career by film scholar Susan Doll, production stills, production notes, and script excerpts