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 bit of a puzzlement
15 February 2001 | by (DeKalb, IL USA) – See all my reviews

What we have here is a failure to communicate, as Paul Newman might have said. O'Connor's fiction has a central theme of redemption; the most vile creatures in her stories are all given equal opportunity to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, as is the case with her story "The Displaced Person." In it, Mrs. Shortley is given true vision of the wide world around her just before she dies; in the film, lacking the expression of a narrator to provide indirect discourse, she simply dies, and as a University of Nebraska professor put it (can't remember his name), the issue meshed within the movie becomes a sociological one and not a spiritual one.

That being said, the film is still a sight to see, even for those not familiar with the original story. Sadly, it's hard to get a copy of it these days (I was reduced to watching it on 16MM). Probably the most rousing performance for me was not future film star Samuel L. Jackson, or even John Houseman as the otherworldly priest, but was instead Mrs. Shortley (Shirley Stoler). Her facial expressions alone (which, in the story, are accompanied by some of the most comic thoughts to ever grace the pages of literature)are classic in themselves. Still, the challenge of putting O'Connor's text on the screen with all its textual twists and turns (linguists seem to go ape over O'Connor, and after a little guided reading, it's not hard to see why) is a large challenge, and for all of Horton Foote's skill, it still falls somewhat short of the story's original theme.


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