Storm Warning (1951)

Storm Warning (1951), directed by Stuart Heisler.

Ginger Rogers stops in a town terrified of the Klan and witnesses a jailbreak and murder. Her life is further complicated when she discovers her sister's husband is one of the gang. Ronald Reagan is rather good as the prosecutor who wants her to testify.

A seriously toned and earnest drama on a little-seen subject. A bit overblown and and a bit heavy on the message, but the tension builds nicely, first to the inquest and then to a confrontation with the brother-in-law and the assembled Klan.

I did not recognize Doris Day as the sister. It's supposed to be in the South but the accents are all generic middle American and there are only a scattering of black faces in the crowd.

The Klan is portrayed as a racket benefiting a few leaders. In the story they are mostly concerned with "outsiders"; there is a hint of racial animus: "it wouldn't be safe for a woman to walk the streets without us..." The prosecutor knows who is under the sheets and calls them by name: "Am I supposed to be afraid of you because you're wearing a mask?"

That's Ginger Rogers being flogged by the Klan in the last thumbnail below.