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Blake Washburn blames manufacturer MacFarland for his defeat in the race for re-election to the state legislature. He takes over his uncle's newspaper to take on big business as an enemy of the people. Miss Martin works in the "Herald" newspaper office. When tragedy strikes, Blake must re-examine his views. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is one of a handful of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer productions of the 1950-1951 period whose original copyrights were never renewed and are now apparently in Public Domain; for this reason this title is now offered, often in very inferior copies, at bargain prices, by numerous VHS and DVD distributors who do not normally handle copyrighted or Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer material. See more »
Hometown Story, a rather cheaply made film, even for a B picture and especially since it comes from MGM, is stalwart Republican Louis B. Mayer's defense of the free enterprise system. Not that he hadn't done it before, one of the most rightwing films ever made came out of his studio a decade earlier with Boom Town. But that film was a big production with some heavy duty name players in it. This one was made with frugality in mind.
Jeffrey Lynn is our star who has returned to his hometown in Hometown Story a defeated State Senator, defeated by Hugh Beaumont grandson of Donald Crisp who is the biggest employer in the area. Lynn takes over the newspaper and decides to use it to gain support for a comeback bid. And who to go after but the biggest target around.
And if you can't find an issue, create one. Lynn attacks what he labels the obscene profits of Crisp's firm and others like it. That sends Crisp into Lynn's office with a theory of capitalism and a defense of his business practices.
At first people might dismiss this film because in this day and age we now see what corporations like Enron and investment banks like Goldman-Sachs have done. But I would quote no less than Martin Sheen from Wall Street who says there is a great deal of difference between speculators like Michael Douglas and businessmen like Crisp who started the business and put their work and sweat into it.
Of course it would be interesting 60 years later to see if that Hometown Story now includes said firm moving to a foreign country or to some state with right to work laws and no environmental regulations. It's a complicated business with no easy answers.
Hometown Story would be gathering dust in a tin can at MGM's vaults if it weren't for the fact that Marilyn Monroe has a small role as a secretary at Lynn's newspaper. She's not Lynn's love interest, that's reserved for Marjorie Reynolds. But she does send Lynn's best friend and star reporter Alan Hale into a tizzy. The future skipper of the USS Minow has his hormones in overdrive.
Economics is not an easy subject for films and Hometown Story will not provide any answers. But it's pleasant enough viewing.
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