This is not typical of the listings for movies recommended by the Society because it concerns primarily a man who was but a child in 1940 and it concerns a television documentary, not a theater movie. But it concerns the illegal making of whisky in the southern Appalachians and constitutes a significant, though minor, aspect of the culture of the people of the Southern States. With that said, the review of this reference is presented.
This documentary, produced in 2008, features Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton (1946–2009), who was the last of a long line of makers of “illegal” whiskey on the mountain border of North Carolina and Tennessee. His family participation in this craft went back to the 18th century, his product was of the highest quality, and he was well-known and popular, a real folk hero, in his region. He had been usually left alone by “law enforcement.” This changed in 2008 when he was raided by the BATF, led by James Cavanaugh, the same man who conducted the Waco massacre. Sutton was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Though he was in his 60s and suffering from cancer, the government refused to let him serve his sentence under house arrest. The day before he was to go to the penitentiary Sutton committed suicide. The 2008 version of the film includes an earlier version, “This is the Last Dam Run of Liquor I’ll Ever Make,” along with a full-length documentary. See also Sutton’s autobiography, ME AND MY LIKKER, published in 1999.