Henry Shipes

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Vernon, Florida Review


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According to documentary filmmaker Errol Morris' web site, he originally started work on Vernon, Florida, because the citizens of this little panhandle town were famous for cutting off their limbs for cash. The town had the highest reports of dismemberment insurance fraud in the country, and he set out to capture these greedy self-amputees on film.

Also according to that site, Morris said he had to switch gears mid-stream when those same townfolk caught onto his film concept and threatened to kill him. The outcome is a series of engrossing and rather endearing series portraits of the eccentric populace (mostly with all limbs intact). For many fans of Morris' quirky and fascinating body of work, Vernon is the hidden gem, filled with memorable moments, faces, and dialogue.

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