Tod and Buz,working in Cleveland,Ohio as laborers in a foundry,are exposed to the close-knit world of Polish ethnic life by their Supervisor.Steeped in Old World tradition,he has dominated ...
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Tod and Buz,working in Cleveland,Ohio as laborers in a foundry,are exposed to the close-knit world of Polish ethnic life by their Supervisor.Steeped in Old World tradition,he has dominated the lives of his children.When a fellow Pole's daughter disappears it leads to the discovery of his son's involvement. Written by
"First-Class Mouliak" is a sensitively told story about the ties of family, community, and tradition. I won't bother recapping the plot as the other reviewers have already done so adequately. ROUTE 66 was well-known for bringing us down the highways and byways of America and into various ethnic communities. Here we get a glimpse inside a Polish-American neighborhood in Cleveland. The community is defined by its blue-collar (steel foundry) roots, Catholicism, strong family ties, food, and polka music. Two strongly ethnic characters are played by the extrovert Nehemiah Persoff and the more restrained Martin Balsam. The episode does a good job of immersing us in the ethnic atmosphere. Tod and Buz stand somewhat on the sidelines, aware of not quite fitting into this community; nevertheless, as always they manage to provide aid to those in need. The plot has murder, vengeance, guilt, reconciliation
all elements of a gripping drama.
A father/son conflict lies at the heart of the story. But it's the reverse of the stereotype, for here it's the father who wants the son to have a better life in a better part of town, while the son would rather stay, marry a local girl and work in the forge alongside his father. This is surprising and refreshing, and a sign of how ROUTE 66 managed to avoid cliché'.
In giving my rating I took into account the fact that - as another reviewer pointed out - the end of the story seems rushed. Also, fans of Robert Redford might be disappointed as the actor is not given great scope here apart from the climactic final scene.
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