Post by The Folks @ TanneryWhistle.com on Oct 1, 2003 23:03:10 GMT -5
Remember "Sargeant York?" I have a vague image of Gary Cooper lying flat of his back after lightening had struck him and his mule. I believe the horse shoes (mule shoes?) were smoking. Had York been drinking moonshine? Is that maybe why God struck him? What I am thinking is, there are a hellofa lot of movies between Sargeant York and Songcatcher that give someone's extremely subjective idea of who we are in the mountains. Has anyone seen "Next of Kin" with the demented snakehandling guy that rides the train into the city with his rifle and his snakes in a sack to "git even" with them Mafia fellers. What was the name of that thing with Sissy Spechec (sp) about farming in Tennessee amid flash floods and bankruptcy. Seems I remember the husband pinned under a tractor. Then, there is "Deliverance." Oh, and "Nell." Then, there is "The Harlan County Wars" with genuine tarpaper shacks and people eating hog brains. And leave us not forget Jane Fonda's "The Dollmaker." Well, I would really like to sift through this stuff and find out what you think is the good and bad reflections of Appalachia. Just pick one and rant. Okay, I'm waiting...... Gary
Post by Ol' John Brown on Oct 2, 2003 4:14:56 GMT -5
Well, I can get us started with "Nell."
It was a total farce and misrepresentaion on the town in which it was filmed. I can tell you this for sure since I lived in the town (Robbinsville, NC) for 18 years or so.
Sure, Robbinsville has its small town, sometimes backward attributes but the real ones were discarded and new, more severe ones created for the film.
The town was portrayed as being less than half the size that it really is (it's still pretty small but not that small and not as behind the times as they lead us to believe.)
The general store (Snider's Dept. Store -- actually, in it's heyday, was a very large, ritzy Dept. Store, something akin to a cross between Macy's and Wal-Mart) and the woman who played the cashier were real -- well, the woman (Mrs. Snider) actually owns the store and she and her family are quite wealthy and played a signifigant part in founding and expanding the town. They were a big part of the "company town" where the company (in this case a large sawmill/lumber company) provided company housing (they built an entire community still known today as Snidertown) and the "company store."
But, for the "quaintness" effect I suppose, only a fraction of the store was shown to give the viewer the impression that it was a tiny backwoods "traiding post."
They also were carefull not to let the viewer in on the fact that there was an Ingles or a Hardee's a block away. . . and as for the old timey gas station in the movie, it was closed, abandonded, some 15 or 20 years before in favor of a better location on the 129 by-pass.
Now for the "pool hall" which was real. It was called "The Blue Beacon" in real life. It was, in fact, a very old place and pretty seedy. . . do I remember people in the movie drinking beer there? I'm not sure, but if they are, this is another falsehood as the entire county reamins, to this day "dry." Not to say that the folks don't drink, they just pretent not to or don't do it in public.
But anyway, back to the pool hall. Remember the patrons that were there? The drooling backward hillbillies?
Not so in real life.
The pool hall we frequented by a wide variey of patrons but not any backward droolinng hillbillies. There were fathers closely garding their young sons attempting to teach them how to have an old fasioned good time shooting pool and there were the young punks, some pool sharks, and the pot peddlers.
But no backward drooling hillbillies . . . even in Robbinsville. It was a small place, so everyone knew everyone. I knew everyone too and I didn't know or know of any such exaggerated characters.
Not to say that we didn't have characters that would have made a good movie, but Hollywood isn't interested.
By the way, the cabin in the film was a movie set, nothing simmilar is still occupied in the area . . . and as for Jodie Foster, she held herself aloof, wanting nothing to do with the "real" people in the town.
Ol' John Brown
NORMAL[/i][/color] is a cycle on a washing machine --John McAffee
Post by The Folks @ TanneryWhistle.com on Oct 2, 2003 9:52:15 GMT -5
Well, I agree that "Nell" is a slick and shallow, but the reasons have nothing to do with the filming location. We need to get Neal in on this discussion since he is a film-maker and knows something about this region. I can't argue with a film director's decision to shape his location into whatever he wants it to be. They frequently do that and pay well for the liberties that they take with the scenery. But I can argue with the final results...Not that they made Robbinsville look bad, but that they gave a distorted image of Appalachian culture. The film was not a documentary. It was a work of fiction, and as such, was free to create an "imaginary setting" that was in keeping with the director's purpose. I guess I argue with that purpose. Did he treat his subject with integrity and authenticity?
I don't know, maybe we should all watch it again. I know that is asking a lot, but it might be interesting to see what the comments would be when they come fresh from witnessing the crime. Gary
Post by The Folks @ TanneryWhistle.com on Oct 25, 2003 14:11:42 GMT -5
Well, I went out to the video store and checked out "Sargeant York." It was fun. Did it misrepresent the mountains and mountain folk? Yes, it did, but not in an offense way. The dialogue was wonderful. Everybody was a-going and a-thinking and a-walking. When Maw York bought a little sack of flour at the store (operated by Walter Brennhan who was also the preacher), she said she wanted a "poke" of flour. I guess the difference between a poke and a sack is minor, but I think of pokes as paper and sacks as sacks. Lots of guns, of course, and everybody seems to be constantly waving them about. Gary Cooper is so appealing it is hard to criticize him, but I did get the impression that "slow" and "Appalachian" were synonyms. He blinked and gawked a lot. And he was alwas "a-thinking" and "a-pondering" that stuff about killing or not killing. The depiction of the army was even more simple-minded than the depcction of mountain folks. Them tough-talking soldiers said "Darn" and "By heck" and popped their fist into their hand for emphasis. Of course, those were different times and the restrictions on language explained the army. I'm not sure what explains the depiction of mountain folks. As I said, it was wrong, but it was harmless. The film has some beautiful photography and there are scenes that make east Tennessee look like the promised land. The church scenes are wonderful and border on the comical without meaning to. Everything is filled with good intentions. Gary
Post by The Folks @ TanneryWhistle.com on Oct 30, 2003 22:51:18 GMT -5
Well, I just watched "Wrong Turn." It is a bit like watching "Texas Chain Saw Massacre" in West Virgilnia. Here it is, alive and well...the old formula of demented hillbillies made murderous by incest and imbreeding just like we all know. I always appreciate a good scare and that may be more important here than making any moral judgments on the Canadian filmmakers who created a setting for this one in West Virginia. I do wonder if the idea of cretins in Canada is just not credible, whereas West Virginia is a breeding ground for ax murderers who kill tourists, campers and rock climbers. I loved the old wrecker, the awesome junk yard filled with mutilated cars and the frig filled with canned body parts, but I also felt I had seen all of that before. Wasn't there an old wrecker in the original Texas Chain Saw? Gary, talking to himself
Post by The Folks @ TanneryWhistle.com on Dec 4, 2003 21:09:19 GMT -5
Yeah, I liked both of those Sissy Spacek (sp) movies, and I thought they gave mounttain culture a fair shake. As I remember, the magazine, "Now and Then" over at ETSU devoted an issue to Appalachian films and they had a few qualms, but I can't remember what they were. I do remember that the "Movie" issue was a hell of an issue. It had an awesome list of films including that famous one about the TVA fellow who got the hots for a mountain girl while the TVA was flooding the cove where she lived. What the hell was that? Does anyone know what I am talking about? The TVA man may have been Montgomery Clift.
Has anyone seen the "made for TV" thing about a coalmine strike that tried so hard to be authentic and nearly choked to death on asmosphere. Tar-paper shacks, hog-brains for breakfast and some of the most inept buckdancing I have ever seen. the poor little mountian girl goes to the big city to represent the folks in her cove and goes into a kind of religious ecstasy over indoor plumbing. Oh, you gotta see this one. Gary
Post by Gary Carden on Sept 17, 2005 15:45:19 GMT -5
I loved "Matewan"!!! I even did a bit of research and came up with the book that the movie was based on. I especially liked the sheriff who was later gunned down on the courthouse steps. I even gave the film as a Christmas present to several friends. Gary
I am actually trying to find out about Appalachian life. If anyone would like to email me it is firstname.lastname@example.org. I am interested in helping in areas that need help. Even though we have many huricane victims, I know there are many people that need our help all year round. I don't want to offend anyone so that is why I am asking for help. I really don't know if what is in films is correct. I know that most of the time unless it's a documentary, it is not true to life!
Anyone interested in helping some of the people protrayed in the movies should contact the "Christian Appalachian Project" at 6550 South Ky. Rt. 321, PO Box 459, Hagerhill, KY 41222. A couple of years ago they had a website of www.chrisapp.org . I have a book they put out, which tells of people living in poverty that is nearly non-imaginable in this day and age.