Foxfire (1987 TV Movie)
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I believe that she did have heart trouble before her attack. Maine West published a book in 2003 where some people submitted information about themselves. In it she said that she was a retired actress and lived in Atlanta. I don't know if she ever married or had children. Her brother Davis Hall is listed in IMDb and has a fairly extensive biography of himself, but I notice there isn't anything about Harriet Hall except the movies and soap operas that she appeared in.
It's the relationship of Annie (Jessica Tandy) and Hector (Hume Cronyn) that provides the real meat of the film. Their interaction is so true, so painful that it's always emotional to watch. They carry the entire production, lifting it far above everything that surrounds. I almost found myself wishing that the story could have been told completely through them alone, perhaps with a few flashbacks interspersed. It's those flashbacks where much of the power is held. The last half hour of "Foxfire" hurts the most, brings the most joy. It's so pure.
The director, Jud Taylor, doesn't really bring much to the plate here, nor does the rest of the production crew. But you didn't come to see a great film - you came to see two great performers. And you got everything you were looking for.
The dialogue was sub-standard and the scenes repetitive, but it was the unlikely, cynical and even shocking ending that killed this movie. The movie was going along well up to and including what should have been a fulcrum and the most critical scene of the movie: Harriet Hall (as Holly) criticised John Denver (as Dillard Nations) for being such a phony on stage. She was obviously in love with him, and the movie should have been re-written to have her lead Dillard to experience a change-of-heart about everything: The honesty of his relationships, his relationship to his work, his relationship to his mother and his relationship to the land, all of which are jaundiced and askew.
He has absolutely no appreciation for the appalachian life and land that he was raised on, and has no respect for the wishes of his mother. This is the first movie I have seen where John Denver plays a real self-centered creep: Did Dillard stop for one moment to think about what a trip to Florida could do to an old woman such as her? Did he think about how long she would last, being torn away from the land and memories that give her identity and roots? This is the cheapest, most callous ploy I have ever seen to get a free babysitter.
He had the opportunity, when Holly took-him-to-task, to get honest with himself and bring his children up there to live with her. He could have decided to help his mother, and respect her wishes, instead of fetch her to act as nanny in Florida to his then-motherless children.
When Jessica Tandy (as Annie Nations) decided to sell, it screwed with my head so bad, I threw the movie out. This would not, should not have happened, in real life. She would have lived her life there. I felt abused and betrayed by screenwriters Susan Cooper and Hume Cronyn. I haven't researched either of them, but what do you want to bet they are a couple of city slickers?
How can we feel good about Foxfire? A mountain girl like Annie would have lasted maybe 3 months best in the Florida high-rise retirement/tourist swamp.
Foxfire could have been great, but instead of John Denver's character experiencing the transformation he did in A Christmas Tale, he remained the same careless, selfish lout he was at the beginning of the movie. I still love John Denver, but I'm sorry I watched Firefox. If you want to see a movie about appalachia, then watch Song Catcher, or Fire Down Below, instead.