This documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky details the murder trial of Delbert Ward. Delbert's of a family of 4 brothers (the other 3 being Roscoe, Lyman and William - Bill, for ...
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This documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky details the murder trial of Delbert Ward. Delbert's of a family of 4 brothers (the other 3 being Roscoe, Lyman and William - Bill, for short), working as semi-literate farmers, and living together in isolation in a ramshackle shack, until William's death. The subsequent police investigation and medical examiner's autopsy suggested Bill may not have died from natural causes, and Delbert was arrested on charges of second-degree murder. Under questioning by police, Delbert appears to have waived his rights and signed a confession, but, it seems he might not have been competent, and was coerced into doing so. The film explores possible motives for the crime, from mercy-killing (Bill was ill at the time), to progressively more outré hypotheses. It also shows how residents of the rural community of Munnsville, NY rallied to the support of one of their own (residents previously considered the Wards as social outcasts), against what they ...Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Picked by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Independent Films" in a special supplement devoted to independent films that was only distributed to subscribers in October 1997. See more »
It's very sad to look at the Ward Boys, a trio of brothers whose simple world is brought out into the national spotlight in 1991 when one of their brothers is found dead in the morning, and one of the brothers, Delbert (who shared the bed with Bill, the dead brother), is accused of murdering/ euthanizing him. To watch them is to see a segment of the country that gets little attention, but is made king of quaintly riveting in this context. We basically see all the different characters of the town go about their daily lives (including the brothers) while the backdrop of the murder trial casts a pall over their lives. It's funny to see people who would have never normally talked to these outcast bumpkins now embrace them as if they were relatives. And the old Ward Boys, all in their 50s and 60s, don't seem too affected by it all until the trial.
This is a really enthralling watch and it gives an insider's view into a community and a world that many of us never get to see. Some of the townspeople are really fun to just listen to, and the police make themselves look pompous and suspect, which is one of the great achievements of this film... it makes us relate to people who are unlike most of us and rally around them against those most like ourselves.
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