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Arthur Allan Seidelman
In 1935, after 40 years in a West Virginia prison, three released convicts wish to open a legitimate business using the 25 thousand dollars earned in jail but a crooked prison guard in cahoots with the town banker plan to defraud them.
Tragedy strikes a small mining community one fateful Christmas Eve in 1951 when a series of explosions strike a mine notorious for its unsafe conditions. The miners and their families work desperately to rescue the trapped men before an even larger, more deadly explosion can occur. Written by
Well there's a number of things I liked about this movie and a few major things I didn't. I'll talk about the things I didn't like first.
I flat out HATED that mother. Who I thought was so ugly and unpleasant. She was constantly ordering her better half (her 11 year old daughter) around, mistreating her, and keeping her from being a kid, at every chance she could get. And so I wanted to bitch slap her at every chance *I* could get.
In reality though the girl looks NOTHING like her movie mother. And the character who plays her "18 year old" sister looks a lot more like her mother... and even looks more like they could be sisters, who are practically the same age in real life. So some people were obviously miscast in this fairy tale.
Now the good things... Melissa Gilbert as Kelly!! The 11 year old, rebellious, bundle of joy who put up with so many bad people, including: her monster mother, her ungrateful sister, and unfair townspeople... and still managed to maintain her dignity. Her performance is the highlight of the movie and she is too cute in it.
We also get to see Kurt Russell as a young man who is brave & slick. And on the other end we see John Carradine as an OLD man, who you keep around in the family to watch him smoke his pipe and sometimes give you wise words. They are both great and interesting to see in their stages of life.
It was also interesting to see what life was like in a small, coal mining town in 1950. That is something I haven't seen before. One question kept arising though that was never answered... what state was it in???
My favourite scene is when Kelly breaks down a window of the store. Thats justified revenge. Haha. But a really stupid, uncomfortable scene is when the mother goes into her older daughters room to talk about sex.
So apart from every excruciating scene with that dreadful woman, the other elements of this film were rather good. But I insist, if she wasn't in this movie it would have been so much better.
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