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Seven former college friends, along with a few new friends, gather for a weekend reunion at a summer house in New Hampshire to reminisce about the good old days, when they got arrested on the way to a protest in Washington, DC.
Mingo County, West Virginia, 1920. Coal miners, struggling to form a union, are up against company operators and the gun thugs of the notorious Baldwin-Felts detective agency. Black and Italian miners, brought in by the company to break the strike, are caught between the two forces. UMWA organizer and dual-card Wobbly Joe Kenehan determines to bring the local, Black, and Italian groups together. While Kenehan and his story are fictional, the setting and the dramatic climax are historical; Sid Hatfield, Cabell C. Testerman, C. E. Lively and the Felts brothers were real-life participants, and 'Few Clothes' is based on a character active several years previously. Written by
Susan C. Mitchell <email@example.com>, expanded by Silverwhistle
In the scene where the coal company executives are trying to bribe the Mayor and Sid Hatfield, the calendar behind the mayor reads September 1920. The historical shootout at the climax occurred in May of 1920, four months beforehand. See more »
Soundtrack was available on LP, Columbia, 37.089
Harmonica by John Hammond, Phil Wiggins
Fiddlee by Gerry Milnes, Stuart Schulman
Mandolin by John Curtis, Jim Costa
Guitar by John Curtis, Mason Daring
Dobro by Mason Daring See more »
Matewan ranks in the best of the 80's. John Sayles much overlooked tale based on the true events that occurred in the title town. Sayles recreates the past with pastoral images and glowing light. Chris Cooper's Luddite persona and Christlike attitude captures the heart and is evenly balanced by the antagonist's in the film.
The cast is phenomenal. David Straitharn is the dark rider sheriff with a good heart. The final showdown is powerful and sad.
West Virginia is beautifully captured. Cinematography was the only category the Academy of Arts and Sciences recognized as nominating.
The film captures the desperation and determination of people who had very little and were treated like slaves. The Coal Company tried to break the formation of a Union by infecting it with racism and violence. That was the mindset.
The film is spiritual and lyrical showcasing the beauty and creativity of a much overlooked director.
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