Dummy (1979 film)
Dummy is a 1979 American made-for-television drama film starring LeVar Burton as Donald Lang and Paul Sorvino as Lowell Meyers, Lang's attorney. Based on Ernest Tidyman's nonfiction book of the same name, the film dramatizes the life of Lang, an African-American deaf man from Chicago who was acquitted of the murders of two prostitutes.
by Ernest Tidyman
|Screenplay by||Ernest Tidyman|
|Directed by||Frank Perry|
|Theme music composer||Gil Askey|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||Frank Konigsberg|
|Editor(s)||Donald R. Rode|
Benjamin A. Weissman
|Running time||96 minutes|
|Production company(s)||The Königsberg Company|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television|
|Original release||May 27, 1979|
Donald Lang is a young African-American who was born deaf. He has a loving mother who struggles to give him as normal an upbringing as possible and a brother and sister who are supportive as well. He finds employment on the loading docks of Chicago and wins the respect of his fellow workers. Donald is arrested and charged with the murder of a prostitute he was seen leaving a bar with. His case is handled by attorney Lowell Myers who is also hearing impaired. Investigating the crime, Myers becomes convinced Donald is innocent and another person committed the murder. Nevertheless, Donald Lang is convicted and sent to a mental institution. After several years of appeals, Myers finally manages to have his client released making an eloquent appeal to the state Supreme Court that a deaf mute is entitled to the same rights as one not impaired. In an ironic conclusion, after a few months of freedom, Lang is again arrested for the murder of a prostitute who was seen with him and was convicted of this murder as well.
The film won a Peabody Award and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.
The film was released on DVD by the Warner Archive Collection on October 2011.
- Witbeck, Charles (27 May 1979). "LeVar Burton in 'Dummy': The case that stumped the courts". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- Shales, Tom (26 May 1979). "Mistreated 'Dummy'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- Roberts, Jerry (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810863781.page 443
- "Vault Dweller: Quint checks out 32 Warner Archive releases! Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Lupe Velez, JFK, Gobots, Twiggy, Mr. T and more!". Ain't It Cool News. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2017.