In the 1950s, a poor Georgia cotton farmer and his sons search for the gold presumably buried on the farm by their grandfather but problems related to poverty, marital infidelity, unemployment and booze threaten to destroy their family.
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A poor farmer is obsessed with finding gold on his land supposedly buried by his grandfather. To find it he conveniently moves a marker out of his way that designates the land on which it rests as as God's Little Acre, where anything that comes from the ground will go to God's work. Eventually he abducts an albino to help him find the gold. Meanwhile, his daughter-in-law is suspected of fooling around with a labor activist out of work since the mill closed, and a local political hopeful actively seeks his daughter's hand in marriage. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
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Mr. Ty Ty, you oughta' be out raisin' cotton. You're a good farmer - that is, you USED to be. Why, Mr. Ty Ty, you can raise more cotton on this land in one season than you can find gold in a whole lifetime. It's a waste of everything, Mr. Ty Ty, diggin' them holes all over the place.
Ty Ty Walden:
Well, now, I wish I had spent a little more time on the cotton, that's for sure. If I had 20 or 30 bales to tide me over the fall and winter, I could devote all the rest of my time to diggin'!
But Mr. Ty Ty, ...
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Erskine Caldwell's two most popular books ("Tobacco Road" and "God's Little Acre") were both made into controversial films, though John Ford's 1941 adaptation of "Tobacco Road" made it to the screen with memorably eccentric characters, smoothly segueing from absurdity to pathos. Anthony Mann's work on "God's Little Acre" is appropriately uneven (which is Caldwell's tone, after all), however the switch from ridiculousness to high drama is fitful here and doesn't come off. The performers shouldn't be faulted: Robert Ryan makes a big effort to be loose as patriarch of a Georgia dirt-farm family looking for buried gold on his land, Jack Lord and Vic Morrow are fine as his sons, and Tina Louise is torrid as his daughter-in-law who is not-so-secretly in love with Aldo Ray, an unemployed factory worker. Ray's desperate, lusty character is really the hero of this story (and with his big hairy arms, Ray is more than adept at taking on all comers), but the pacing is slow and a sub-plot about an albino youngster (Michael Landon!) doesn't lead anywhere. The picture is all over the place, but only when it settles into a tight, melodramatic groove near the end does it take on some meaning. For the first hour, "God's Little Acre" is a big, empty hole. **1/2 from ****
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