USDA scientist Mark Carleton appears to be traveling on some kind of junket as wheat farmers face disaster from drought, frost, and diseases. But in Russia, he finds a variety of wheat ... See full summary »
USDA scientist Mark Carleton appears to be traveling on some kind of junket as wheat farmers face disaster from drought, frost, and diseases. But in Russia, he finds a variety of wheat that's resistant to drought. He brings it home, and the Kubanka strain is an instant hit with the farmers. But the farmers that had been singing his praises are cursing him at harvest time. The wheat is much harder than the popular but fickle spring wheat, and millers will not accept it because it would cost them millions to retrofit their mills. Carleton tries to persuade them, and to increase demand for macaroni (the best use for the resulting flour), but to no avail. The following year, a severe blight of black rust hits, wiping out the spring wheat crop. But the Kubanka durum is resistant to the blight, and the millers, seeing no alternative, accept the wheat. It becomes a standard. Carleton himself, however, dies in poverty. (The film omits Carleton's other important crop introduction, Kharkof [... Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
Terrific entry in John Nesbitt's Passing Parade series is without question one of the best. The short tells the story of Mark Carleton (Donald Douglas), a worker for the USGA who travels across the world trying to find wheat that farmers can grow no matter about the drought situation. He finally finds such a wheat in Russia but after the U.S. farmers plant it they are shocked to see that it's too rough to turn into flour. Then, another disaster hits the farmers but this is when Carleton's wheat might come in handy. If you're not familiar with the Passing Parade series then it's best described as a MGM series that tried to remind people of important people of the past who had been forgotten over time. I'm not sure how many people will remember Carleton today but this is a pretty incredible little story and future Oscar-winner Fred Zinnemann does a marvelous job getting it to the screen. In 9-minutes this short contains more drama than most features as the director really builds up the human drama of the story and he really nails the emotions that Carleton had to go through as there were several up and down moments in his life. As usual, Nesbitt's narration strikes the right cord and it too helps add to the drama of the story. Zinnemann directed dozens of shorts before turning to features and it's easy to see the talent that's on display here.
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