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Erich von Stroheim,
Mary Beth Hughes,
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>
A 1967 re-release attempted to appeal to the new generation by playing up the sex in the advertisements. The '67 poster featured the drawing of a topless woman underneath a bare-chested man on a bed, as well as a topless (but chaste) photo of co-star Fay Spain that was definitely not in the picture itself! For this re-release, Tina Louise was given top-billing and Michael Landon went from tenth billing in 1958 to second billing this time. See more »
Although the plot revolves around hillbilly family who has spent years digging dozens of holes around property looking for gold, all of the dirt surrounding holes appears moist and freshly excavated, not dried out and dusty as it would actually be if it been dug out with shovels and exposed to sun for years. See more »
For whatever reason the producer's decided that God's Little Acre should be set in no specific time rather than in the dust-bowl thirties where and when it belongs, it kept the film from being a great film. It's still a good film to watch, but it misses greatness by a length.
Erskine Caldwell wrote this and set in firmly the Depression. And for rural America, the Depression did not begin when the stock market crashed. It began after World War I when the demand for our farm produce dropped with the coming of peace. Agriculture had no price support system then, it was the beginning of the end of the family farm, be it corn or cotton. The stock market crash just exacerbated the situation.
But this Walden family has its own set of problems starting with the head of the family, Robert Ryan. As Ty Ty Walden, he's digging up the farm rather than working it, looking for some buried gold left from Civil War days. He's got three sons and two daughters and one fetching daughter-in-law, Tina Louise who is married to one son, Jack Lord, but has her heart set on her sister Helen Westcott's husband Aldo Ray.
Before she was movie star Ginger Grant and a castaway, Tina Louise was quite the sex object, she's also got another son, Lance Fuller all hot and bothered over her. He's gotten away from his family of rustics, he married a wealthy widow who up and died and left him well fixed. Of course he has the least amount of character among the whole bunch.
Jack Lord and Vic Morrow are the other sons. Lord in his days before he was telling Danno to book 'em played a lot of nasty types on screen. Here he's not nasty, but he's one powerfully jealous fellow. Fay Spain had a brief career as a young sex pot due to this film as the youngest in the family and one flirtatious young thing.
This film was loaded with TV stars in the making. Michael Landon has a very nice part as an albino these rustics believe has special powers that can divine where gold is. He's captured by them and put to work tramping all over Ryan's acres looking for the buried gold. He's a true innocent that Fay Spain seeks to seduce while she's still being courted by Buddy Hackett who's a local politician running for sheriff. Michael Landon or Buddy Hackett? I mean, really, who would you choose?
Though some of the left-wing polemics were drained from the film, this was the fifties, Anthony Mann still managed to get his cast to deliver a powerful and entertaining film.
I will say this about the ending, the audience gets the message for sure about what's important in life, but it looks Ryan never will.
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