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Salt of the Earth (1954)

 -  Drama | History  -  14 March 1954 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,777 users  
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Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the film deals with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers, who struck to attain wage parity with Anglo ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sheriff
David Wolfe ...
Barton
Mervin Williams ...
Hartwell
David Sarvis ...
Alexander
Rosaura Revueltas ...
Esperanza Quintero
E.A. Rockwell ...
Vance
William Rockwell ...
Kimbrough
Juan Chacón ...
Ramon Quintero (as Juan Chacon)
Henrietta Williams ...
Teresa Vidal
Ángela Sánchez ...
Consuelo Ruiz (as Angela Sanchez)
Clorinda Alderette ...
Luz Morales
Virginia Jencks ...
Ruth Barnes
Clinton Jencks ...
Frank Barnes
Joe T. Morales ...
Sal Ruiz
Ernesto Velázquez ...
Charley Vidal (as Ernest Velasquez)
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Storyline

Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the film deals with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers, who struck to attain wage parity with Anglo workers in other mines and to be treated with dignity by the bosses. The film is an early treatment of feminism, because the wives of the miners play a pivotal role in the strike, against their husbands wishes. In the end, the greatest victory for the workers and their families is the realization that prejudice and poor treatment are conditions that are not always imposed by outside forces. This film was written, directed and produced by members of the original "Hollywood Ten," who were blacklisted for refusing to answer Congressional inquiries on First Amendment grounds. Written by Bob Shields <rshields@igc.apc.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Only Blacklisted American Film See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

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Details

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Release Date:

14 March 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La sal de la tierra  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because the producers feared both sabotage and destruction of the film, the exposed footage had to be developed in secret, and at night, by a sympathetic lab technician, with the film delivered in unmarked canisters. See more »

Goofs

When Ramon is in the bar, his hands change position several times between shots. See more »

Quotes

Esperanza Quintero: [opening narration] How shall I begin my story that has no beginning? My name is Esperanza, Esperanza Quintero. I am a miner's wife. This is our home. The house is not ours. But the flowers... the flowers are ours. This is my village. When I was a child, it was called San Marcos. The Anglos changed the name to Zinc Town. Zinc Town, New Mexico, U.S.A. Our roots go deep in this place, deeper than the pines, deeper than the mine shaft. In these arroyos my great grandfather raised cattle before the ...
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Connections

Referenced in Return of the Secaucus Seven (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

We Shall Not be Moved
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the women on the picket line
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User Reviews

Solidarity Forever!
17 October 2000 | by See all my reviews

"The only film in US history to be blacklisted."

That alone is praise!

SALT OF THE EARTH, a powerful film shot on a threadbare budget, mostly with local non-actors, was branded as "communist propaganda" during the infamous McCarthy "Red Scare" and was hardly shown in the USA when first released. However, the film was widely exhibited in Europe, where it was lauded with acclaim. It wasn't until the 1960's and 1970's that anyone in the USA had a decent chance to see this powerful work, and then only in film festivals, union meetings, or college campuses.

It is not propaganda. It is about the struggle for dignity and recognition. The making of this film it testament to that alone! For fear of destruction by "anti-communist" technicians, the film stock had to be smuggled into development labs and worked on in secret! Director Herbert J. Bieberman was arrested during filming, and had to give scene directions by letter and telephone while in prison.

The film the U.S. Government didn't want you see...now part of the National Film Registry. Consider watching this as driving a stake through Joe McCarthy's heart.


39 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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