The Chamber

Synopsis: Having survived the hatred and bigotry that was his Klansman grandfather's only legacy, young attorney Adam Hall seeks at the last minute to appeal the old man's death sentence for the murder of two small Jewish boys 30 years before. Only four weeks before Sam Cayhall is to be executed, Adam meets his grandfather for the first time in the Mississippi prison which has held him since the crime. The meeting is predictably tense when the educated, young Mr. "Hall" confronts his venom-spewing elder, Mr. "Cayhall," about the murders. The next day, headlines run proclaiming Adam the grandson who has come to the state to save his grandfather, the infamous Ku Klux Klan bomber. While the old man's life lies in the balance, Adam's motivation in fighting this battle becomes clear as the story unfolds. Not only does he fight for his grandfather, but perhaps for himself as well. He has come to heal the wounds of his own father's suicide, to mitigate the secret shame he has always felt for the geneti
Genre: Crime, Drama
Director(s): James Foley
Production: MCA Universal Home Video
  2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
113 min

I think I'm gonna die.

You wanted a birthday party.

What's that old expression?

- "Never mix bourbon with champagne"?

- No.

"Jews can't drink."

Honey, how about I take the boys to school?

Bless you.

Where we goin'?

To Daddy's office!

- Who wants Daddy's briefcase?

- Me, me, me!

Run to the car. Run to the car.

Oh, watch yourself.

- Bye, Mommy, I love you!

- Say bye to Mommy.

- Bye, Mommy!

- Bye. Be good, boys.

- Love you.

- I love you too.

OK, let's go to work.

Get in there!

Get in that car!

Get in that car! You get in that car!

OK, sit down, boys.

- Here we go.

- Daddy's office!

Bye. See you when we come back today!

Hey, Mr Kramer.

Daddy's office! Daddy's office!

Everybody out.

Close that door. That a boy.

OK, everybody in.

- Do we have to go in there?

- You gotta go all the way.

All the way in.

Hey, big stinky earplug!

Hey, big stinky man!

Who is it?

So far, all that's been recovered

are the bodies of two children,

their identity unknown.

Amen. The service is now completed.

God damn you!

You're murderers!

You're filthy murderers! And you know it!

You're murderers, all of you!

Can you tell us why you did it?

You killed my boys!

You killed my boys!

You murderer! You filthy murderer!

You killed my boys, Cayhall!

- Have you lost your mind?

- No, I'm very serious.

I want the Cayhall case.

What do you know

about the death penalty?

I've read everything there is.

Then you know nothing.

I know you took Sam Cayhall pro bono

and kept him alive all these years.

I also know that he just won

the right to fire you.

Do you mind telling me how you know that?

I made it my business.

And do you know the reason

why he fired me?

He hates lawyers.

Then why in the world would he hire you?

Go back to your office, Mr Hall.

We both have better things to do.

Sam Cayhall's my grandfather.

You have a relationship with Williams

and Cook in Jackson. I could work there.

You have great contacts at Parchman

Prison. A word there would help too.

I take it Hall is not your real name?

My parents changed it from Cayhall

after the murders.

- You still have family down there?

- An aunt in Jackson.

I told her I might be down on business.

Does she know what this business is?

I'll tell her when I get there.

You Cayhalls are big on secrets.

- Did you ever meet your grandfather?

- No.

- Did they even tell you he existed?

- I found out at my dad's funeral in 1980.

- Same year Sam was sentenced to die.

- Yes, sir.

- Your father must have died young.

- 35 years, four months, six days.

Perhaps I shouldn't have asked.

It's not a big deal.

I was 52 years old

the first time I handled a death row case.

I didn't sleep for a week afterwards.

I don't sleep as it is.

You'll open up passions

no one wants uncovered.

For a brief moment, Sam Cayhall will be

the most talked-about man in the nation.

I've been living with this case my whole life.

- To do so officially might be a relief.

- The odds of winning are a joke.

You don't have a chance in hell.

I'm going, Mr Goodman,

with or without your help.

Call me from Jackson. Don't thank me.

I have not done you a favour.

Did he do it?

Oh, he did it.

There's no question that he did it.

The Mississippi Scenic Cruiser

for downtown Jackson

is now boarding in the blue zone.

Good afternoon, sir. Good to see you.

You look like a mendicant Indian.

Jessie, help Mr Hall with his...

Actually, I'm going to stay

at a hotel near the courts.

I'll be up all night working long hours.

Honey, whatever you like.

I love you, you hear?

Go freshen up and hurry down -

I have the mothers of the only

12 remaining virgins in all of Jackson,

just panting to meet you.

I won't have too much time

for socialising.

You must regale us all

with tales of what brings you here.

I'm guessing it's to use

your lawyerly charms

to separate our local fat cats

from their ill-gotten fortunes.

You should start

with my cranky old husband.

He deserves a good comeuppance.

- Lee...

- Yes?

I'm here to defend your father.

- Look, I understand that...

- You understand nothing.

Don't you utter one word to anyone.

- Lee...

- Not one word.

You hear?

Good night.

- Call me tomorrow.

- I will.

See you. Bye.

- Lovely party, dear.

- Oh, thank you.

Don't forget

we have the museum on Thursday.

- Good night, Adam.

- Good night.

Good luck.

Phelps lives in town.

Oh, it's OK. We have

a very active romantic life.

Just not with each other.

Then why stay married?

Good for a banker to have someone

acceptable for social occasions.

And it's good for you to have a banker?

I've done pretty well

for poor white trash.

Don't you think?

Not bad. Not bad at all.

How acceptable I'm gonna be

when the world finds out

I'm Hitler's daughter is another question.

It's all right. It's under control.

Nobody knows?

I was speaking of my drinking.

But no, no one knows.

I left home when I was 18,

changed my name, met Phelps, eloped.

We told his family my father was dead.

Soon, that won't be a lie.

You talk about Sam

like he means nothing to you.

Occasionally, if I'm having a good day

and the sun is shining...

I might think of him and remember some

pleasant moment from my earliest days -

the way he'd call me "sweet baby girl".

But mostly I remember

how he destroyed absolutely everyone

who made the mistake

of getting close to him.

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William Goldman

William Goldman (born August 12, 1931) is an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. He came to prominence in the 1950s as a novelist, before turning to writing for film. He has won two Academy Awards for his screenplays, first for the western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and again for All the President's Men (1976), about journalists who broke the Watergate scandal of President Richard Nixon. Both films starred Robert Redford. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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