7.4/10
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Salt of the Earth (1954)

Not Rated | | Drama, History | 14 March 1954 (USA)
Mexican workers at a Zinc mine call a general strike. It is only through the solidarity of the workers, and importantly the indomitable resolve of their wives, mothers and daughters, that they eventually triumph.

Writer:

Michael Wilson (by)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Will Geer ... Sheriff
David Wolfe ... Barton
David Sarvis David Sarvis ... Alexander
Mervin Williams Mervin Williams ... Hartwell
Rosaura Revueltas ... Esperanza Quintero
E.A. Rockwell E.A. Rockwell ... Vance
William Rockwell William Rockwell ... Kimbrough
Juan Chacón Juan Chacón ... Ramon Quintero (as Juan Chacon)
Henrietta Williams Henrietta Williams ... Teresa Vidal
Ángela Sánchez Ángela Sánchez ... Consuelo Ruiz (as Angela Sanchez)
Clorinda Alderette Clorinda Alderette ... Luz Morales
Virginia Jencks Virginia Jencks ... Ruth Barnes
Clinton Jencks Clinton Jencks ... Frank Barnes
Joe T. Morales Joe T. Morales ... Sal Ruiz
Ernest Velasquez ... Charley Vidal (as Ernest Velasquez)
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Storyline

Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the film deals with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers, who struck to attain wage parity with Anglo workers in other mines and to be treated with dignity by the bosses. In the end, the greatest victory for the workers and their families is the realization that prejudice and poor treatment are conditions that are not always imposed by outside forces. Written by Bob Shields <rshields@igc.apc.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Banned! The film the US government didn't want you to see! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

14 March 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La sal de la tierra See more »

Filming Locations:

Bayard, New Mexico, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was the only blacklisted film ever in American film history. It was blacklisted during the 1950s during the height of the Cold War scare. See more »

Goofs

CC on the TCM broadcast misidentifies a music snippet as "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," but it is actually "John Brown's Body" [aka "Battle Hymn of the Republic"]. See more »

Quotes

Esperanza Quintero: Ramon, I don't like to bother you, but the store, they say, uh, we will not make another payment on the radio this month, they'll come and take it away... We're only one payment behind... I argued with her. It isn't right.
Ramon Quintero: It isn't right, she says. Was it right that we bought this... this instrument? But you *had* to have it, didn't you. It was *nice* to listen to.
Esperanza Quintero: I listen to it... every night... when you are out at the beer parlor.
Ramon Quintero: 'No money down'. 'Easy term payments'. I tell you something -...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The final credits are divided into "the professional cast" and "the non-professional cast." See more »

Connections

Featured in Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Politics (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

We Shall Not be Moved
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the women on the picket line
See more »

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User Reviews

Holds up surprisingly well
20 October 2003 | by laurseneSee all my reviews

Despite the crap the filmmakers had to endure to get this one done, it took its share of pans when it came out: A pious piece of agitprop full of too-good-to-be-true and too-bad-to-be-believed stick figures, etc etc. Today, it holds up well - first, its use of "real" locations and "real" people appears more valuable in a documentary sense the farther away we get from the time it was made. Second, the production values, especially the cinematography - the Blacklist claimed some of the more talented technicians in Hollywood, and Salt of the Earth benefits richly from their work.

Third, the themes remain quite relevant. When we see footage of, say Bolivian coca growers taking to the streets to overthrow their country's US-sponsored tycoon president, what's so surprising about a community of Mexican American workers standing in solidarity against an exploitative mining company? When we see Justice for Janitors bringing the owners of LA's office towers to the table (at least), what's so far-fetched about workers in Salt of the Earth grabbing a bit of justice for themselves? I could go on.

From the vantage point of 2003, Salt of the Earth looks like a refreshing change. Agitprop is news to a lot of people today - it can be powerful if done well, yet we're now all conditioned to think that any form of dramatic art that doesn't center obsessively on the isolated individual is false and/or sentimental. Is Salt of the Earth really more sentimental than On the Waterfront (made about the same time), in which a corruption struggle on the New Jersey docks serves merely as the scenery for Marlon Brando's emoting about his boxing career?? Come on!!

People who stand in solidarity really are powerful. Americans are taught not to think so, but it's when they stand up together, not separately, that they win the biggest victories (and I don't mean in uniform, either).


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