Based on the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe: Eliza, a slave who has a young child, pleads with Tom, another slave, to escape with her. Tom does not leave, but Eliza flees with her child. ...
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In the pre-Civil War South, a sadistic plantation-owner brutalizes his slaves to the point of them heaving no other choice but to rebel. Always obedient, peaceful and honest old slave Tom plays a central role in this tragedy.
Géza von Radványi
Based on the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe: Eliza, a slave who has a young child, pleads with Tom, another slave, to escape with her. Tom does not leave, but Eliza flees with her child. After getting some help to escape the slave traders who are looking for her, she then must try to cross the icy Ohio River if she wants to be free. Meanwhile, Tom is sold from one master to another, and his fortunes vary widely. Written by
A Creditable & Ambitious Attempt, Despite Some Obvious Flaws
Given how early it was in the history of cinema, this attempt to film the story of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is creditable and quite ambitious. The flaws of this movie version are now quite noticeable, but at the time it may well have been a satisfying experience, for those who remembered the impact of Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, to see the action portrayed on screen. Regardless of what today's critics would think of the novel and its characters, the book had an impact on history that few works of art have ever achieved.
The story is told with a clear assumption that the viewer is already familiar with the story, and it would probably be nearly incomprehensible for those who had never read the book. Within a fairly short period of time, film-makers would develop standard ways of introducing characters and situations so as to make sure that no one got lost, but at this early stage of cinema, an adaptation of well-known literary material was more likely to count on viewers knowing the story already.
The movie illustrates several of the most significant events from the novel, using the kind of tableau format that for a time was the usual way to present this kind of story. It does re-arrange a couple of things, rather than sticking strictly with the book, and it was clearly an enterprising project. Although it only partially comes off, it's still worth seeing for its historical interest alone.
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