A conscientious but driven Polish refugee disrupts the hierarchy of power on a Georgia farm in the 1940s.

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(short story), (teleplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Irene Worth ...
Mrs. McIntyre
Shirley Stoler ...
Mrs. Shortley
...
Mr. Shortley
...
Father Flynn
Robert Earl Jones ...
Astor
...
Sulk
Noam Yerushalmi ...
Mr. Guizac
Carolyn L. Bloodworth
Mildred Brown
Brad Deal
Dina Herrington ...
Sledgewig
Deborah Lee Jones
Vickie Tooke
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Storyline

A conscientious but driven Polish refugee disrupts the hierarchy of power on a Georgia farm in the 1940s.

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Drama

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Release Date:

12 April 1977 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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A Dark and Tragic Tale Well Told
30 December 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is a fascinating gem of a film, although it is far from cheerful and heart-warming, as it is bathed in unremitting gloom. Flannery O'Connor, who died tragically young at the age of 39 in 1964, was a prominent writer from the Southern United States, whose star was in the ascendant in the 1960s and 1970s, and I hope it has not fully waned today. Her voice was authentic, the South she described was her south, and if it was often grim and gloomy, well, that was her perspective. This film based on her short story was filmed near Milledgeville, Georgia, the town where she died. We can be sure that events bearing similarity to those described in the story actually occurred. It all rings with the truth of a well-toned bell, though it tolls mournfully. In the 1970s and 1980s, Bob Geller, whom I knew slightly at that time, acted as a devoted and highly conscientious Executive Producer of a whole series of these adaptations of classic American short stories for PBS Television, many of them available today on DVD. I believe they were all shot on 16 mm film, which explains why the colour and image quality are not up to much, and clearly no one has the money to pay for digitally remastering them, as there is less interest in serious literature every day, and no one could produce this series now, as decadence descends upon us like a tsunami. This film contains a magnificent and brilliant central performance by Irene Worth, and a superb performance also by Lane Smith. Their Georgian accents are perfect. A rather subdued and vague performance by John Houseman as a Catholic priest was probably intended as such, as the character was meant to be like that. No one should see this film when feeling down, as there is little sunlight to glimpse through the clouds of hatred, prejudice, and wickedness. But if you are feeling strong, it is a powerful film of a powerful story, however depressing it may be to know the truth about humans sometimes. If a voice cries out in pain, we should at least listen.


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