Life in small town Wisconsin. Selma and Arnold, aged 7 and 5, pal around together between their two farms. Selma has a newborn calf that her father gave to her which she named 'Elizabeth'. Nels is the editor of the Fuller Junction Spectator and the kids just call him 'editor'. Viola is the new school teacher from the big city. While Nels wants to marry Viola, Viola does not want to live in a small quiet, nothing happening town. The biggest news is that Faraassen has built a new barn. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This simple story offers sentiment without saccharine in its story of a farming family in a small community. Episodic in nature, the film follows the adventures of daughter Selma (Margaret O'Brien) and her friend Arnold (Jackie "Butch" Jenkins) as they, like the crops under her parents' care, grow into caring, loving individuals.
The cast is the great thing here. O'Brien was a gifted little actress, charming in her prissiness, and Jenkins equals her as her slightly pouty friend. Both offer memorable performances--but the truly remarkable performances here, the ones for which the film should be prized, come from Edward G. Robinson and Agnes Moorehead, who are cast against type in the roles of Selma's parents. Robinson, of course, is best remembered for his tough-guy roles, full of energetic bluster; Moorehead is most often recalled as one of the most memorable shrews in Hollywood history. But both show the range of their talents in this film, playing quietly, simply, and very movingly--and one regrets that both (particularly Moorehead) were not given more opportunity to play such in-depth roles more often.
Ultimately, VINES is about how parents teach their children and shape their lives--and about how children, for good or ill, learn from their parents. Simply filmed, beautifully performed, and memorable from start to finish, it is a film that deserves wider recognition than it normally receives. An excellent family film that both parents and children will enjoy.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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